So Begin the EHR Incentive Programs

Lora Bentley

We have written about it for months. Health care providers and technology companies have been preparing even longer.


Monday marked the first day eligible physicians and health care facilities can register to participate in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) electronic health record incentive programs. After all the debate concerning "meaningful use," this is where the rubber begins to meet the road, so to speak.


According to InformationWeek, registration for the Medicare incentive program and for Medicaid incentive programs in Alaska, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas began Monday. Registration for the Medicaid programs in California, Missouri and North Dakota is slated for February. Registration for remaining state programs is expected to begin in the spring or summer.


The Obama Administration's National Coordinator for Health IT, David Blumenthal, said:

It's time to get connected. The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) and CMS have worked together over many months to prepare for the startup on Jan. 3 ... We look forward to continuing to work with CMS to assist eligible providers ...

In a statement, CMS administrator Donald Berwick said:

With the start of registration, these landmark programs get underway, and patients, providers, and the nation can begin to enjoy the benefits of widespread adoption of electronic health records. CMS has many resources available to help providers register and participate ...

Those resources include fact sheets and program overviews, eligibility requirements, links to the rules that authorize the programs and the registration website, among other things.


The ONC's list of certified systems included 169 products at the time of this writing, and according to InformationWeek, it is frequently updated.

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