Latest CMS EHR Incentive Programs Data Includes Lists of Providers and Hospitals Receiving Payments and Shows Continued Light Participation

The list of Medicare providers and hospitals receiving payments as of 9/30/2011 has been published by CMS: provider listhospital list. This is in compliance with the HITECH Act which requires that the Medicare recipients be published but not the Medicaid recipients.

The ”October EHR Incentive Program Report”, also shows that participation remains limited. 52.3% of the Eligible Hospitals (EH) have registered but only 17.1% have received payments. Eligible Professionals (EP) have a long way to go to get to the program goal of 75% participation, with just 2.8% receiving payments this year.

The report also breaks down the EP recipients for the Medicare program as the pie chart shows. Family practitioners and internists account for the majority. This is no surprise since the program was designed for them and has yet to address the specialties in a meaningful way.

Radiologists are lumped in the “Other” category, as very few radiologists are participating in the program, even though the ACR estimates that about 27,000 radiologists are EP’s and eligible for both incentives and penalties under the program.

2012 will have to be a big year for Meaningful Use (MU) for two reasons. One reason, is that the last ninety day reporting period for EP’s to gather data for Stage 1 and collect the maximum incentive payment, starts October 3, 2012.

The second reason that 2012 will be a big year for MU is that time is running out. If an EP misses the opportunity to implement and collect data to attest for Stage 1 in 2012, that means they will have to implement for Stage 1, gather data to attest for Stage 1, and implement for Stage 2, all in 2013. For most systems, making all this happen in one year will not be possible.

Data collection to attest for Medicare Stage 2 meaningful use must start no later than January 1, 2014. Currently, those not successively attesting for Stage 2 MU will receive penalties starting in 2015. CMS Medicare payments will be cut by 1% per year up to 3% or 5% depending on how many EP’s are successful in the program. If greater than 75% of the EP’s are successful through Stage 2, the penalty is capped at 3%. If less than 75% of EP’s are participating, the penalties increase to a 5% reduction in Medicare payments.

The bottom line is that for the EHR programs to be successful and for EP’s to avoid Medicare payment cuts, 2012 will be the deciding year.