Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Are State Funds available to help off-set the cost of EHRs?

EHR funding as part of the information technology incentive program can be availed through Medicare or Medicaid. The primary difference between Medicare and Medicaid is that the Medicare Incentive Program is federally run by CMS and the Medicaid Incentive Program for EHR funding is provided by State governments. Choosing between Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs requires you to consider some important points before taking a decision.

Eligibility Criteria for Medicaid EHR Incentive Program or State Funds

To avail of State Funds under Medicaid for your EHR, practitioners must have a practice that is 30% Medicaid. This number is lower for pediatricians at 20% and 10% for Acute Care Hospitals. Some providers like nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, dentists, and physician assistants who practice in a Federally Qualified Health Center or rural health clinic that is led by a physician assistant, are eligible ONLY under Medicaid, i.e., they can only use State Funds to fund their EHR.

Differences between Medicaid EHR Incentives and Medicare EHR Incentives

There are no patient volume thresholds in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program. In terms of eligibility, if you can be paid under the Medicare physician fee schedule, then you can participate. Besides this, even though the requirements are similar, there are a number of important differences to look out for when making the selection. You can switch between the two programs only once. It is therefore essential to carefully evaluate the two plans to be able to settle upon the one that best suits your practice.

Given below is a comparison chart of the primary components of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.
 Source: http://www.hcms.org/

State Funds for EHRs in Your State

So far, the following states have launched their EHR Incentive Programs:
1. Arizona
2. Connecticut
3. Rhode Island
4. West Virginia
5. Alabama
6. Alaska
7. Indiana
8. Iowa
9. Kentucky
10. Louisiana
11. Michigan
12. Mississippi
13. Missouri
14. North Carolina
15. Ohio
16. Oklahoma
17. Pennsylvania
18. South Carolina
19. Tennessee
20. Texas
21. Washington

Other states will launch their Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs during the summer and fall of 2011. For more information on Medicaid or State funded EHR programs, visit, https://www.cms.gov/

Expected launch dates and contact details for each state are available at https://www.cms.gov/apps/files/statecontacts.pdf

References:

1. http://www.familydocs.org/files/MeaningfulUseOverview1.pdf
2. http://trusted.md/blog/mnpryan/2010/09/29/incentive_program_for_emr_funding#axzz1RPxhkARZ
3. http://www.revenuexl.com/should-you-choose-the-medicare-or-medicaid-incentive-plan-/
4. Medicare Medicaid EMR Incentive Comparison TMA From HCMS
5. http://srssoft.com/medicare-vs-medicaid-ehr-incentives
6. https://www.cms.gov/apps/files/statecontacts.pdf
7. https://www.cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms/35_Basics.asp#TopOfPage
8. https://www.cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms/40_MedicaidStateInfo.asp

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