HITECH EHR Incentive Attestation Begins

System Available to Verify Medicare Incentive Eligibility
HITECH EHR Incentive Attestation Begins
The HITECH Act electronic health record incentive program marked a landmark April 18. Hospitals and physicians can now use an attestation system to begin verifying to Medicare that they qualify as meaningful users of certified electronic health records.

One of the requirements for Stage 1 of the program, which must be verified, is to conduct a risk analysis and take action to mitigate risks identified. Federal authorities are continuing work on additional potential privacy and security requirements for future stages of the program (See: Privacy, Security Proposals Advance).

Those who successfully attest to meeting the requirements can expect to begin receiving Medicare incentive payments within four to eight weeks, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' timeline shows Medicare payments could start to flow in May.

Individual states are operating the Medicaid portion of the incentive program separately and under their own timelines. So far, only 13 states have launched their programs, and some already have begun making payments.

Under the HITECH Act, which was part of the economic stimulus package, as much as $27 billion may be made available for EHR incentives through 2015. For Medicare incentives, physicians can receive up to $44,000, in phases, over five years, while hospitals can earn a $2 million base payment plus additional payments based on a number of factors. Although the program is voluntary, starting in 2015, those hospitals and physicians not meaningfully using certified EHRs will see their Medicare payments begin to decline.

More information is available on the official website of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive program.

About the Author

Howard Anderson

Howard Anderson

News Editor, ISMG

Anderson is news editor of Information Security Media Group and was founding editor of HealthcareInfoSecurity and DataBreachToday. He has more than 40 years of journalism experience, with a focus on healthcare information technology issues. Before launching HealthcareInfoSecurity, he served as founding editor of Health Data Management magazine, where he worked for 17 years, and he served in leadership roles at several other healthcare magazines and newspapers.

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