MEANINGFUL USE PROGRAM PAYMENTS APPROACH $24 BILLION; ENROLLMENT STILL LAGS BEHIND 2013

As of April, the federal government has paid more than $23.7 billion in incentive payments to health-care providers and hospitals through the meaningful use program, which pays Medicare and Medicaid incentives to providers and hospitals that adopt electronic health record systems,according to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services data released June 4.

Enrollment grow in the meaningful use program is slower than in previous years, however, particularly for hospitals, the data show.

In April, the latest month for which data are available, 7,057 providers and 13 hospitals newly registered to participate in the meaningful use program, according to the data. In April 2013, 4,445 providers and 38 hospitals registered to participate in the program, according to earlier CMS data reports.

The largest share of the incentive payments—$13.83 billion—has gone to hospitals, according to the data. Nearly $2 billion was paid in 2014.

Provider registrations were down compared to March and February of this year, when, respectively, 12,461 and 9,378 providers registered to participate.

The meaningful use program averaged roughly 4,403 provider registrations per month in 2013; however, month-to-month registrations varied between 17,021 in January 2013 to just 4,778 in December 2013.