The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently announced that stimulus funds totaling $75 Million were paid to approximately 300 providers who have attested in the last three weeks. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the program, the HITECH Act was signed into law as part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. The goal of HITECH is to promote EHR adoption among physicians and hospitals by reimbursing them for purchasing certified electronic health records software.

HITECH has separate programs for Medicare and Medicaid. Providers who wish to participate in the Medicare track could receive up to $44,000 per provider. The amount awarded will depend upon the allowable charges a physician bills to Medicare each year. Under Medicaid, providers can receive up to $63,750 per provider, assuming their patient base is at least 30% Medicaid. Medicaid rules vary by state; you will want to consult with your Regional Extension Center for details. In each case, a physician must meet the eligibility requirements and purchase a certified EHR.

The Medicare track is more difficult, because providers must meet 15 core criteria and may choose five of ten menu requirements to implement. Examples of the criteria include recording demographics and vital signs for more than 50% of all patient encounters; maintaining an active medication list for more than 80% of patients; and issuing electronic prescriptions for more than 40% of your encounters. Waivers for certain requirements may be available if the measure is not relevant to the practice.

The Medicaid track is much easier, because providers only have to purchase and install a certified EHR system in order to qualify for stage one. They do not have to meet any meaningful use measures. One of XLEMR’s clients, Dr. James Jewell from Rock Hill, South Carolina, has just received payment for stage one under the Medicaid track. Dr. Jewell has already received approximately $40,000, and he expects another $20,000 within the next week.

Dr. Jewell specializes in geriatric care; He and three nurse practitioners travel to nursing homes and other facilities to care for their patients. Dr. Jewell has been using XLEMR for several years, but was unsure if he would qualify for stimulus money due to the structure of the geriatric environment. He consulted with a representative from his Regional Extension Center, who informed Dr. Jewell that he would qualify for the Medicaid track.

Tripp Weeks, president and founder of XLEMR, recently spoke with Dr. Jewell about the meaningful use attestation process. The conversation is available on our website here as a direct download, or you can go to our stimulus payment page and download it from there. The file is in MP3 format, approximately 3 MB, and runs about 18 minutes. We hope you will enjoy the candid insight Dr. Jewell provides. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about meaningful use, certified EHRs, or the attestation process.

Ryan Ricks
Security Officer