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D.C. Report: Incentive Program Bills, CME Web Site Revamped

August 10, 2010
by Sharon Canner
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Incentive Program Bills Introduced. As a follow up to the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee oversight hearing on July 27 around such topics as early adopters of EHRs and facilities located in multi-campus settings, members introduced bills to address perceived problems in the Final Rule.

“Ensuring Equality for Early EHR Adoption Act of 2010” (HR 6005), introduced by Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX-26), would allow temporary certification of EHR products for payment years 2011 and 2012 and permit incentive payments from CMS. In the absence of certified products, this bill seeks to address the challenge of installing new certified EHRs or upgrades before eligibility for payment. Co-sponsored by Reps. Stearns (R-FL-6) and Blackburn (R-TN-7), HR 6005 is strongly supported by AHA.

Rep. Zachary Space (D-OH-18) is the chief sponsor of the “Electronic Health Record Incentives for Multi-Campus Hospitals Act” (HR 6072) that would provide each hospital of a multi-campus system an individual payment under the EHR incentive program. HR 6072 has 30 bipartisan cosponsors, a strong indication that this bill has a good chance of Congressional action; although off-setting its cost poses a challenge. As defined by HR 6072, the multi-campus system should have a main hospital and at least one remote location provider, and these remote locations should be meaningful users as well. The system can choose the “Base Amount Alternative” under which each qualified provider would receive an incentive base payment (but the system would receive only one per-discharge amount). Alternatively, the system could opt for the “Discharge Related Amount Alternative” where each hospital would receive a payment for each discharge (but only one base payment for the system). The AHA supports this bill as well, stating that a hospital in such a system could “choose a calculation that would best meet the needs of their institutions and communities.”

CMS Website Revamped for Providers. Providers can now obtain the latest information regarding the EHR incentive program via the CMS website. Details regarding meaningful use, certification, and eligibility criteria are available for both hospitals and Medicare/Medicaid eligible professionals. For more information, please visit

On a related note, CMS will host two conference calls: (1) August 10, 2:00 PM -3:30 PM ET ---The “Medicare & Medicaid EHR Incentive Program Specifics for Eligible Professionals” and (2) August 11 2:00 -3:30 PM ET--Medicare & Medicaid EHR Incentive Program Specifics for Hospitals .To register for the August 10 call geared to individual practitioners, visit Registration will close at 1:30 PM ET on August 10, 2010 or when available space has been filled. For the August 11 call for hospitals, visit Registration will close at 1:30 PM ET on August 11, 2010, or when available space has been filled. According to CMS, no exceptions will be made, so please be sure to register prior to these events.

Advocacy Corner Takes a Vacation. We will not publish D.C. Reports for August 17 or 24 as Canner will be on leave. With regards to Congress, both the House and Senate are scheduled to recess August 9 - September 12.