18 Providers Receive First Georgia Medicaid Incentive Payments
ATLANTA-Eighteen health care providers are the first in the state to receive payments from the Medicaid Electronic Health Records(EHR) Incentive Program being administered by the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) Office of Health Information Technology. This week, these eligible professionals and eligible hospitals have received more than $6.4 million in Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services-funded incentive payments for successfully qualifying for the program.
Advancements in technology have helped make American medical care the best in the world. We are now seeking to apply technology to improve the administrative side of the equation through the use of electronic health records, said DCH Commissioner David A. Cook. Medicaid has offered these incentives to reward those providers who adopt EHR for the advancement of our nation's health care system.
Since the program's launch on September 5, incentive payments totaling $6,405,605.57 have gone out to six hospitals and 12 professionals around the state who were among the first to qualify.
The program is seeing a steady increase in the number of eligible providers applying for the incentive payments since we opened registration in early September, said Kelly Gonzalez, DCH's Interim State Health Information Technology (HIT) Coordinator. These providers are already experiencing the benefits of using EHR to improve patient workflow and administrative efficiencies.
Georgia's Medicaid EHR Incentive Program is open to eligible Medicaid professionals (physicians, nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives and dentists) and eligible hospitals (acute care hospitals, critical access hospitals and children's hospitals). This federally funded incentive program will serve two main goals: to promote the meaningful use of certified electronic health records to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of patient care, and to reward and support providers as they transition into new technology within the nation's health care system.
Through our Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, we project that we will issue incentive payments in excess of $400 million dollars during the next 10 years,Cook said.
To receive the incentive payments, eligible professionals and hospitals must meet specific Medicaid patient volume thresholds as they adopt, implement, upgrade or demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology during their first year of participation. In subsequent participation years, eligible providers are required to demonstrate meaningful use of the technology defined as how the certified EHR technology moves beyond being a digital medical chart into being a valuable tool to transform health care service delivery and improve health outcomes.
Through annual incentive payments, eligible Medicaid professionals may receive $21,250 in their first year and up to a maximum of $63,750 during their six years of program participation. The incentive payment formula for eligible Medicaid hospitals is based on multiple variables and will be paid over three years of program participation.
Funding and support for the Medicare and Medicaid Incentive Programs is provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Georgia's Medicaid EHR Incentive Program will be administered by DCH; CMS will administer the Medicare Incentive Program.
Registration at the federal level (www.cms.gov/ehr). opened earlier this year. Registration at the state level (www.mmis.georgia.gov) , which began on September 5, is also required. Once eligible participants have attested to meeting all program requirements and their applications have been approved, payments will be made within 45 days.
About the Georgia Department of Community Health
Through effective planning, purchasing and oversight, the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) provides access to affordable, quality health care to millions of Georgians, including some of the state's most vulnerable and underserved populations.
DCH is responsible for Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids®, the State Health Benefit Plan, Healthcare Facility Regulation and Health Information Technology in Georgia.
David A. Cook serves as Commissioner for the Georgia Department of Community Health.
To learn more about DCH and its dedication to A Healthy Georgia, visit www.dch.georgia.gov.