EHR: The Basics
Editor’s Note: The following article laid out the basics of the EHR incentive bonuses. This program has ended, but we continue to provide the content for reference.
Is the $44,000 Stimulus Money a Hoax?
The short answer is “maybe not.”
American Recovery and Revitalization Act of 2009
This Act is also known as the Economic Stimulus Act and was signed into law in February 2009. Within the AARA, there have been monies set aside to encourage (through incentive payments) physicians, hospitals, and other eligible providers to use Electronic Health Records (EHR). The amount set aside is between $17-19 billion. Chiropractic physicians included in the list of those who can become Eligible Professionals.
Is it as simple as purchasing EHR software and the government will send me money?
- The incentive funds are tied to Medicare (or possibly Medicaid) claims reimbursements beginning in 2011. The incentive payment will be 75% of Medicare paid claims with caps each year (see chart below).
- The Eligible Provider must use the EHR in a meaningful way (“meaningful use”). What does this mean? We do not know yet. CMS will propose a rule later in 2009.
- The EHR software being used must be “certified.” What does this mean? We do not know yet. Again, CMS will propose a rule later in 2009.
A software vendor is telling me their software is certified. Is that correct?
Not for the stimulus money.
Although their software may be CCHIT certified, the certification process and requirements have not been determined. The rules defining “certified” EHR for the purposes of the stimulus funds have not been completed. Again, CMS will propose a rule later in 2009.
What are the caps? How much might I get? When will I get it?
Here is a chart to demonstrate:
Remember, these are caps based on the allowable Medicare billings in those years. For example, if your Medicare paid claims in 2011 are $24,000, you would eligible for $18,000 in incentive payments(assuming you meet all of the other requirements). Also, if your Medicare claims reimbursements in 2011 are only $10,000, then you would only be eligible for $7,500 in incentive payments.
Once the stimulus funds are gone, they are gone.