Who is Getting the EMR Incentives?

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a report on last year’s EMR adoption statistics titled Electronic Health Records: Number and Characteristics of Providers Awarded Medicare Incentive Payments for 2011. The report looks into the first successful year of Medicare payments for EMR adoption and meaningful use.

GAO explains that the idea was to gauge diverse reactions to provisions under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. There were several factors such as practice location (rural or urban) or the practice size which had an influence. The report also illustrates the sort of providers which would most likely participate or receive incentives in the future.

According to the report, 761 hospitals representing 16% of the total number of eligible hospitals along with 56,585 medical providers representing 9% of the total for eligible professionals were able to receive a total of $2.3 billion in Medicare EMR incentive payments.

The hospitals shared nearly $1.3 billion from the total payment disbursed by CMS, with the south receiving the highest proportion at 44% and the northeast accumulating a total of 12% as the lowest. However, it is pertinent to note that nearly 86% of the total hospitals receiving EMR incentives were acute care hospitals. The report also found acute care hospitals to most likely receive Medicare payments than other hospitals.

Similarly, about 67% of the hospitals that received EMR incentives successfully were located in urbanized locations. The other key factor in determining the share was the hospital size (determined by the number of beds), and nearly 46% of the hospitals that received the incentive payments were represented by the top third segment in terms bed numbers.

The 56,585 eligible professionals shared a total of $967 million in between them. With the largest proportion again represented by the south of the country with 32%, while the west received the lowest at 17%. General practice physicians were 1.8% more likely to receive the EMR incentives when compared to specialty doctors.

A significant proportion of physicians who received their EMR incentives were located in urbanized locations. It was also highlighted that professionals who had earlier participated in the prescribing program were 4 times more likely to successfully attest and receive their incentive monies than those who did not. GAO also reported that physicians collaborating with Regional Extension Centers were 2 times more likely to receive the incentive payments.

Read more: EMR – The Red Pill or the Blue Pill


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