CMS Cites Increase in Meaningful Use Attestations, Payments For EHRs

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Despite a slow start, attestations and payments for Meaningful Use of electronic health records (EHRs) are beginning to increase in volume, according to preliminary data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

A total of 2,383 physicians and other eligible professionals had attested to meeting Meaningful Use requirements under the Medicare program as of July 31, CMS says, with 1,078 having received incentive payments. On the hospital side, 100 hospitals had attested by the July 31 date, and 66 institutions had been issued payments.

CMS data also show that for Medicaid programs now operating in 23 states, the agency had paid incentives to 3,334 eligible professionals and 199 hospitals through July 31.

According to CMS, the number of providers that have received payments under Medicaid far exceeds the number that have received payments under Medicare. The agency attributes this trend to the fact that while Medicaid payments began in January in some states, providers seeking Medicare incentives were not permitted to attest until April; payments to the latter did not start going out until the following month. Moreover, providers are not required to attest to Meaningful Use in the first year of Medicaid incentive payments.

CMS payouts under the Meaningful Use program umbrella now total slightly under $400 million for the year to date. Moreover, the volume of providers registering for the Meaningful Use program outstripped the volume of those issued payments. Program registrants through the end of July included 77,549 providers, among them 75,720 eligible professionals and 1,829 hospitals.