The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that more than 21,000 providers registered for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs in January and four states reported initial Medicaid incentive payments totaling approximately $20 million. The CMS also announced that as of mid-February, more than 45,000 providers requested information or registration help from the 62 Regional Extension Centers which provide hands-on support for providers who want to adopt and become meaningful users of electronic health information technology.

Eleven states have launched Medicaid EHR incentive programs, and incentives have been issued by four states.

  • Oklahoma and Kentucky issued incentive payments totaling $2,842,500. Kentucky made an initial payment of $2.86 million to a teaching hospital, University of Kentucky Healthcare. This payment comprised one third of the hospital's overall expected amount for participating in the incentive program. On the same day, Kentucky disbursed an incentive payment of $1.3 million to Central Baptist Hospital. Also on January 5, 2011, Oklahoma issued incentive payments to two physicians at the Gastorf Family Clinic of Durant, Okla., totaling $42,500 ($21,250 each), for having adopted certified EHRs.
  • On January 12, 2011, Louisiana announced a payment of $63,750 to Winn Community Health Center, the first federally qualified health center (FQHC) in the nation to receive an incentive payment. The incentive payment consisted of $21,250 for each of three eligible professionals at the clinic.

The Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs were established by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Under HITECH, Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments will be available to eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals when they adopt certified EHR technology and successfully demonstrate "meaningful use" of the technology in ways that improve quality, safety, and effectiveness of patient-centered care. For more background regarding the incentive payment programs, please look here.