Thursday, May 21, 2009

Plan Outlines Medicare/Medicaid Incentives

The Department of Health and Human Services has released the outlines of the program to offer Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments for meaningful use of electronic health records systems.

The payments are authorized under the economic stimulus law. Medicare incentives to eligible hospitals will start in October 2010, HHS has clarified. Medicare incentives to physicians, as well as Medicaid incentives to physicians and hospitals, will start in January 2011.

By the end of 2009, HHS expects to:

* coordinate with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to develop related policies for the incentive programs, such as the definition of meaningful use;

* develop proposed rules to allow public input to the incentive program policies;

* plan systems and other requirements to support the incentive programs; and

* plan a national outreach program.

By the end of 2010, HHS expects to:

* conduct outreach to eligible professionals and providers and to state Medicaid agencies;

* develop systems to support the payment of incentives;

* develop final rules to establish policies to pay incentives; and

* develop systems to monitor and evaluate incentive payments.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has been appropriated $145 million a year for FY 2009 through 2015, and $65 million for 2016, for administration of the incentive programs.

Text of the plan is available at: Report

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