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ONC Officially Launches State Meaningful Use Challenge 2.0

April 5, 2013
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has officially launched the State Meaningful Use Acceleration Challenge 2.0, aiming to motivate every state to participate to help continue to improve care for all their patients.

This year’s challenge builds off the success of the 2012 State Meaningful Use Challenge, which pitted every state and territory against one another to see which would best accelerate the meaningful use incentive program through providers’ electronic health record (EHR) adoption.

Challenge 2.0 increases the number of performance measures by which ONC will judge state progress. As states continue their momentum in driving meaningful use, ONC’s Challenge 2.0 intends to encourage states to continue collaborating with their stakeholders and working strategically to leverage meaningful use criteria in support of quality improvement efforts, such Medicare’s Shared Savings Program and Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative.

This year’s Challenge will include performance measures that look at cumulative figures for the number and share of eligible providers, eligible hospitals, and rural providers receiving incentives for meeting meaningful use criteria. This will allow those states that have already made great strides in EHR adoption to continue to compete with one another. These measures include:

  • Cumulative number of eligible professionals paid by Medicare or Medicaid
  • Cumulative number of eligible hospitals paid by Medicare or Medicaid
  • Cumulative number of rural providers and hospitals that receive payments by Medicare or Medicaid.

The Department of Health and Human Services recently publicly announced the following goals:

  • 50 percent of physician offices using EHRs across the nation
  • 80 percent of eligible hospitals receiving meaningful use incentive payments by the end of 2013.

As part of Challenge 2.0, ONC encourages states to set their own goals and to use the challenge as an opportunity to convene stakeholders and expand their partnerships as they launch their efforts to achieve state and national goals in EHR adoption and meeting meaningful use criteria.

Challenge 2.0 will also evaluate the number of new providers and hospitals paid through the end of 2013. This will allow ONC to recognize those states that see huge growth in EHR adoption and meeting meaningful use criteria this year. These measures include:

  • Number of new eligible professionals receiving Medicare or Medicaid payments in 2013,
  • Number of new eligible hospitals receiving payments in 2013, and
  • Number of new eligible professionals in rural areas who received payments in 2013.

In 2012, ONC and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) set an ambitious goal of having 100,000 healthcare providers receive incentives under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs by the end of 2012. At the same time, several states lined up at the starting line for the 2012 State Meaningful Use Challenge, with Ohio, Washington, California, and New York setting goals early. The goal was reached by June, and as of January 2013, more than 210,000 healthcare providers have either adopted/implemented/upgraded their EHRs or met meaningful use criteria under the programs.

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