EHR Incentive Program Timeline

    For those physicians looking at the Medicare and Medicaid electronic health record (EHR) incentive programs, it pays to be prepared. Incentives are available to eligible physicians who "meaningfully use" a certified EHR – up to $44,000 under Medicare and up to $63,750 under Medicaid.

    Mark your calendar and plan ahead for these important deadlines to earn maximum incentives and avoid potential penalties. Attestation for physicians enrolling in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program opens April 18. CMS has released a sneak peak [PDF] of the attestation system.  

    Physicians are encouraged to register as soon as possible, even if they do not yet have a certified EHR or enrollment record in PECOS.

    • May 2011 – Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive payments begin.
    • June 30 – E-prescribing deadline for Medicare physicians to avoid a 1-percent penalty in 2012 by reporting 10 claims using G-code G8553 (2011 E-prescribing Incentive Requirements).
    • Oct. 1 – Last day for physicians to begin their 90-day reporting period for calendar year 2011 for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program.
    • Dec. 31 – E-prescribing deadline for Medicare physicians to avoid a 1.5 percent penalty in 2013 by reporting 25 claims using G-code G8553. Submitting 25 claims by this date also allows Medicare physicians to earn a 1-percent incentive in 2012 on the Medicare physician fee schedule (2011 E-prescribing Incentive Requirements).
    • Feb. 29, 2012 – Last day for physicians to register for Medicare EHR Incentive Program and attest to receive an incentive payment for the calendar year 2011.

    Upcoming Milestones

      

    2014

    Last year to join the Medicare EHR Incentive Program

    2015

    Medicare penalties begin for physicians and other providers that are not meaningful users of EHR technology

    2016

    Last year to receive a Medicare EHR Incentive Payment

    Last year to join the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program

    2021

    Last year to receive a Medicaid EHR Incentive Payment

    The federal government has established the Texas Regional Extension Centers (RECs) to help physicians so they are not forced to go this journey alone. If you are a primary care physician, federal subsidies are available through the Texas RECs at a rate of $300 per eligible physician. The RECs can offer assistance if you are looking to select and implement an EHR in your practice or if you are an existing EHR user seeking to optimize your workflow and reach meaningful use. 

    The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) conducted a survey in 2011 and found physicians who effectively implement EHRs save money and increase productivity.  According to the MGMA survey results, 20.7 percent of EHR users said they had optimized their EHR post-implementation, 41.1 percent reported an increase in office productivity, 16.5 percent said there was a decrease in productivity, and 42.4 percent reported no change.  While examining only those who said they had optimized their EHR, 26.8 percent indicated an increase in operating costs, 39.7 reported decreased costs, and 33.5 percent reported no change in operating costs.  

    For more information, contact TMA's Health Information Technology Department by telephone at (800) 880-5720 or by e-mail.


    Action, April 15, 2011


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