Deadline for Medicare EHR Incentive Coming

Physicians planning to apply for the 2011 Medicare electronic health record (EHR) incentive must start 90 days of meaningful use [PDF] by Oct. 1 to qualify for the incentive program this year. You must use a certified EHR for the entire 90 days. 

Meaningful use [PDF] refers to a set of 15 core criteria and five of 10 menu criteria physicians must meet to prove they are using their EHR in a meaningful way in their practice. Physicians may qualify for incentives up to $44,000 under Medicare or up to $63,750 under Medicaid. The Medicaid EHR incentive requires adopting an EHR the first year and 90 days of meaningful use in the second year of program participation.

Eligible physicians who postpone meaningful use until 2012 can still earn the full Medicare incentive of $44,000 over five years. Incentives begin decreasing in 2013, and a 1-percent Medicare penalty for physicians who do not reach meaningful use is scheduled for 2015. Physicians who do not earn the Medicare EHR incentive in 2011 can still earn a 1-percent Medicare e-prescribing incentive [PDF] for 2011. 

Medicare Incentive Timeline  

CY

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2011

$18,000

 

 

 

 

 

2012

$12,000

$18,000

 

 

 

 

2013

$8,000

$12,000

$15,000

 

 

 

2014

$4,000

$8,000

$12,000

$12,000

 

 

2015

$2,000

$4,000

$8,000

$8,000

 

 

2016

 

2000

4000

4000

 

 

2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL:

$44,000

$44,000

$39,000

$24,000

$0

$0


Medicaid Incentive Timeline  

CY

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2011

$21,250

 

 

 

 

 

2012

$8,500

$21,250

 

 

 

 

2013

$8,500

$8,500

$21,250

 

 

 

2014

$8,500

$8,500

$8,500

$21,250

 

 

2015

$8,500

$8,500

$8,500

$8,500

$21,250

 

2016

$8,500

$8,500

$8,500

$8,500

$8,500

$21,250

2017

 

$8,500

$8,500

$8,500

$8,500

$8,500

2018

 

 

$8,500

$8,500

$8,500

$8,500

2019

 

 

 

$8,500

$8,500

$8,500

2020

 

 

 

 

$8,500

$8,500

2021

 

 

 

 

 

$8,500

TOTAL:

$63,750

$63,750

$63,750

$63,750

$63,750

$63,750

NOTE: Physicians must choose one incentive program and may only switch programs one time before 2015. 

Regional Extension Centers Can Help
Making sure your practice stays ahead of all the HIT requirements can be challenging. Texas regional extension centers (RECs) serve Texas physicians with on-site technical consulting. Their services are designed to take your practice from its current state – whether you are starting with a paper-based system or looking to optimize your current EHR system – to "meaningful use" to qualify for the federal EHR incentives. Texas RECs understand the unique challenges physicians face and will work with you to fully realize the benefits of EHRs in improving efficiencies and patient care. They serve as a direct pipeline to the national program with HIT adoption.

Primary care physicians qualify for funds that lower the annual price of services to $300 per physician. Federal incentives for consulting and EHR use are unprecedented and will not last long. Visit TMA's REC Resource Center to learn more about the Texas RECs, available incentives, REC and incentive eligibility, and meaningful use. Still have a question? Contact the TMA Health Information Technology helpline at (800) 880-5720 or email HIT.


Action, Sept. 16, 2011  


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