Physicians can sign up for the EHR incentive program in January 2011. To begin receiving payments, they must have demonstrated meaningful use of certified Electronic Health Records (EHRs) for 90 days—which means the first incentive payments will likely go out in May 2011. Now that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released its final rule on meaningful use, the agency is preparing the systems that will trigger incentive payments—which physicians will start receiving as early as May 2011. The CMS will open registration for the incentive program in January.
As most physicians know by now, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provides incentive payments for physicians who treat Medicare patients. Physicians are not required to treat a minimum number of Medicare patients in order to be eligible for the incentive payments.