Government News
Don't Miss EHR Participation Deadline
Psychiatric News
Volume 46 Number 2 page 9-9

Physicians considering participating in the federal programs that provide cash incentives for adopting qualifying electronic health record (EHR) systems will face different deadlines depending on the program under which they file.

Physicians can qualify for payments by following requirements under either Medicare or Medicaid, but not both. They will have one chance (until the end of 2014) after they begin participating to change their minds and switch from one program to the other.

To qualify under the Medicare program, physicians must get started earlier; submitting at least 90 consecutive days worth of required data by the end of 2012 if they want to receive the full $44,000 the government has made available for payments. Alternatively, physicians can accelerate the process by starting to collect and submit the required data for any 90-day period after January 1, 2011. In subsequent years of participation in the five-year program, physicians must submit the required data for the entire year.

Physicians wanting to qualify for the EHR program's six years of payments under Medicaid must have at least 30 percent of their patients covered by Medicaid. Under the Medicaid process, physicians can receive the full incentive of $63,750 even if they wait to start participating until 2016, although they can choose to begin in 2011. Payments are available in the first year simply for demonstrating that the physician has purchased and installed a qualifying EHR system. blacksquare

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