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What is an EHR Incentive Program?

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What is an EHR Incentive Program?

The EHR incentive program introduced by the government, has been one of the catalyst in the increased adoption of the Electronic Health Records technology by eligible professionals and hospitals, however these incentive programs stress on the adoption of a certified EHR to achieve meaningful use objective, thereby ensuring improvement in the quality of healthcare.

After adopting, implementing, and upgrading a certified EHR technology Eligible professionals and hospitals get entitled to receive incentive payments on the basis of the guidelines specified by these EHR incentive programs.

What are the different types of incentive programs?

There are two kinds of incentive program, the Medicaid incentive program, and the Medicare incentive program.

What’s the difference between the two?

The difference is as follows as per CMS.gov.

differences between EHR incentive programs

Each incentive program have their own eligibility guideline, for instance only doctors of medicine or osteopathy, podiatry, optometry, chiropractor, dental surgeons and doctors of dental medicine are considered eligible professionals under the Medicare EHR incentive program whereas doctors of medicine or osteopathy, certified nurse or midwife, dentist, nurse practitioner and physician assistant are considered eligible professionals for the Medicaid EHR incentive programs.What are the Eligibility criteria for professionals under the EHR incentive programs?

However to be considered as an eligible professional, the physician must be an independent practitioner, and must not be hospital based. And to avail the payment must exhibit a meaningful use of the certified EHR technology that has been implemented.

Incase a professional is eligible under both EHR incentive programs then he or she must choose the program they intend to partake and can opt to shift programs anytime before 2015, but only once the first incentive payment is established.

What are the Eligibility criteria for hospitals under the EHR incentive programs?

When it comes to hospitals all Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), MA(Medical Advantage) Affiliated hospitals and any such hospitals that come under subsection (D) in all the 50 states and DC, paid under the Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) are considered Eligible under the Medicare EHR incentive plan. Whereas Acute care hospitals, which also includes CAHs and cancer hospitals along with Children’s Hospitals are regarded as Eligible hospitals under the Medicaid EHR incentive program.

It is advisable for hospitals, which are eligible for both programs to select both Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive program at the time of registration irrespective of the program they wish to go for since at a later stage it becomes difficult to change the details manually on the system once the selection is already done. And this might cause a delay in receiving payment from the program that had not been initially selected, incase the hospital wishes to file a payment for that particular program.

Now although these incentive programs provide financial aid to eligible hospitals and professionals but their aim is to achieve a superior healthcare system for the nation by promoting Certified EHR technology.

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