New Law Expands Number of Physicians Eligible for Incentive Payments

More physicians are eligible for Medicare or Medicaid incentive payments if they demonstrate meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs). The HITECH Act originally excluded hospital-based physicians on the assumption that they benefited from the hospital’s EHR, not necessarily their own. But provider associations told the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that physicians working in hospital-owned outpatient facilities should be eligible for incentive payments. In response, Congress passed a bill, now law, that changed the definition of “hospital-based physician” to exclude only physicians who primarily work in an “inpatient or emergency room setting.” Today, physicians, dentists, nurse-midwives, nurse practitioners, and some physicians assistants who do not work in an inpatient or emergency room setting are eligible, provided that they must have at least a 30% Medicaid patient volume (except pediatricians, who much have at least 20%). With more physicians available for incentive payments, demand for EHRs will certainly increase. Physicians may want to get started with implementation now, before the rush hits. R elated articles More hospital-based docs now eligible for HITECH Act reimbursement More physicians are eligible for Medicare or Medicaid incentive payments if they demonstrate meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs).

The HITECH Act originally excluded hospital-based physicians on the assumption that they benefited from the hospital’s EHR, not necessarily their own.

But provider associations told the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that physicians working in hospital-owned outpatient facilities should be eligible for incentive payments.

In response, Congress passed a bill, now law, that changed the definition of “hospital-based physician” to exclude only physicians who primarily work in an “inpatient or emergency room setting.”

Today, physicians, dentists, nurse-midwives, nurse practitioners, and some physicians assistants who do not work in an inpatient or emergency room setting are eligible, provided that they must have at least a 30% Medicaid patient volume (except pediatricians, who much have at least 20%).

With more physicians available for incentive payments, demand for EHRs will certainly increase. Physicians may want to get started with implementation now, before the rush hits.

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More hospital-based docs now eligible for HITECH Act reimbursement

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