Texas Providers Receive EHR Incentive Funds

More than 100,000 U.S. health care providers have been paid under the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) announced this month. Of those, 7,859 eligible providers in Texas have received $539,203,452 in payments.

“The West Texas Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center has played a major role in helping transform health care through the use of EHRs, ultimately leading to improved patient health care for West Texas,” said Travis Hanson, J.D., M.S., executive director of the West Texas Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center (WTxHITREC). “In addition to this endeavor, the WTxHITREC has successfully assisted numerous eligible providers and hospitals receive their EHR incentive dollars through the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs.”

With a focus on primary care providers and rural and critical access hospitals, the WTxHITREC has served many health care professionals throughout the 108 western counties of Texas. To date, 1,000 providers and 33 hospitals in the region have signed up with the WTxHITREC to overcome common EHR adoption barriers.

The EHR incentive programs, which began in 2011, provide incentive payments to eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals as they adopt, implement, upgrade or meaningfully use certified EHR technology in ways that improve care. Eligible professionals include physicians, nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and some physician assistants.

“The EHR incentive programs have really helped jump-start the use of electronic health records by health care providers all across the country,” said National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Farzad Mostashari, M.D., Sc.M. “Thanks in great part to the work conducted by the ONC-sponsored Regional Extension Centers and Beacon Communities Programs, more and more providers across the country — especially those in rural communities — are now ready to use EHRs.”

The Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs provide incentive payments for using EHR technology in ‘meaningful’ ways that lead to higher quality care, improved patient safety, and shared decision making by patients and physicians. Under the Medicare EHR incentive program, eligible professionals can receive as much as $44,000 over a consecutive five-year period. Under the Medicaid incentive program, eligible professionals can receive as much as $63,750 over six years. Under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals can receive millions of dollars for implementing and meaningfully using certified EHR technology.

Under the Medicaid EHR incentive program, eligible providers can receive incentive payments in their first year of participation by successfully registering through CMS’ Web-based registration system and then demonstrating to their state that they are eligible and have adopted, implemented or upgraded certified EHR technology. Medicaid eligible professionals and eligible hospitals do not need to attest to meeting meaningful use criteria in the first year. However, they will have to demonstrate meaningful use in subsequent years.

For more information on eligibility for EHR incentive payments and services provided by the WTxHITREC, call (806) 743-7960, email info@wtxhitrec.org or visit www.wtxhitrec.org.

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