The 2009 the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (also known as the "Stimulus Bill") authorizes the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to offer a financial incentive to physician and hospital providers who demonstrate the "Meaningful Use" of an EHR.
There are two programs: (1) Medicare and (2) Medicaid EHR Incentive programs. For both programs, providers must meet "Meaningful Use" to receive incentives. Click here to find out your eligibility for the program and here on what each program entails.
Meaningful Use Overview:
"Meaningful Use" is a set of standards defined by the CMS that providers must meet to earn incentive payments. These Meaningful Use standards are designed to encourage the use of electronic health records to identify ways to measurably improve the quality of care through three stages:
Each stage has a set of different Meaningful Use criteria. Currently, all providers are only meeting Stage 1 measures for Meaningful Us. Depending on when the provider started Meaningful Use, they will begin Stage 2 measures for Meaningful Use in 2014.
As the stages progress, the measures get more difficult. Providers are encouraged to participate in Meaningful Use as early as possible to receive available assistance.
Although providers may receive an incentive for achieving Meaningful Use, all providers billing under Medicare Part B or the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule will receive a payment reduction starting in 2015 if they do not demonstrate Meaningful Use. The reduction starts at 1% and increases up to 5% for every year that you do demonstrate Meaningful Use. Hospital-based physicians are not subject to possible payment reductions.