On the last day of 2011, Maryland’s Medicaid program processed its first payments to Maryland medical providers and hospitals through the federal Medicaid Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Program according to Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH).
More than $2 million has been issued to the first group of eligible providers and hospitals through the program, which is funded by federal dollars through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The program aims to help Maryland continue to work toward its goal of encouraging widespread adoption of EHRs and establishing a comprehensive statewide, private-public, and secure health information exchange.
"Health information technology will help ensure providers have the right information about the right patient at the right time in order to improve care and reduce costs for all Marylanders,"Lt. Governor Brown, who co-chairs the Maryland Health Care Reform Coordinating Council, said in a statement.
Among those eligible are physicians, nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, dentists, or physician assistants (who furnish services in a Federally Qualified Health Center that is led by a physician assistant) who participate in Medicaid. Hospitals that are acute-care facilities with at least 10 percent Medicaid patient volume, as well as children’s hospitals, are also eligible. The DHMH says 449 providers and hospitals have already applied for funds through the program.
The program runs through 2021, with any provider eligible to participate for up to six (consecutive or inconsecutive) years. The bulk of the payment is made in the first year of participation, and is triggered by the adoption, implementation or upgrading of certified EHR technology. Eligible hospitals would receive a $2 million base incentive, plus additional amounts reflecting Medicaid inpatient bed-days and other factors.