By Alex Ruoff
Following a surge in the number of hospitals signing up for the program in October, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has paid more than $8.35 billion through its “meaningful use” programs to date, the agency reported Nov. 7.
In response to the end of the federal fiscal year on Sept. 30, 400 hospitals registered for an estimated $340 million in Medicaid and Medicare payments in October, Rob Anthony, a specialist in CMS’s Office of eHealth Standards and Services, said during a Health Information Technology Policy Committee hearing.
The month before, fewer than 250 hospitals registered for incentive payments through the program, according to CMS data.
Many hospitals registering for payments reported the end of the 2012 fiscal year, which was Sept. 30 for the federal government, as a target for qualifying for meaningful use payments, Anthony said.
The meaningful use program continues to see growing enrollment, hitting record highs for incentive payments during September (see previous article). In September, CMS announced total payments through the program, now in its second year, had reached $7 billion.
CMS made $645 million in meaningful use payments in October alone, according to draft estimates released Nov. 7.
More than 60 percent of all hospitals that are eligible for Medicare or Medicaid meaningful use incentive payments have received one, meaning they have made some kind of financial commitment to installing an electronic heard record system, Anthony said.
Nearly 22 percent of all Medicare eligible professionals have qualified for meaningful use incentive payments, CMS said.
Primary care physicians continue to hold the highest rate of adoption of electronic health record systems of any health practitioner and receive the highest payments, CMS said. To date, 15,914 primary care physicians have received more than $271.5 million in Medicare payments.
Internists are second in Medicare payments, with 15,142 receiving $265 million in payments, CMS said.
Specialists combined have received 58 percent of the $1.27 billion being made in Medicare payments to providers through the meaningful use program, CMS said.
Materials from the HIT Policy Committee's meeting are at http://op.bna.com/hl.nsf/r?Open=lroi-8ztq4j.