First Meaningful Use Medicare Incentive Checks Are Cut

The first Medicare EHR incentive payments have been issued under the 2009 HITECH Act, according a notice by the Office of the National Coordinator.

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The first Medicare electronic health record (EHR) incentive payments will be issued this week under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009, according a notice by the Office of the National Coordinator.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has said physicians who have successfully attested to having met “meaningful use,” along with other incentive program requirements, can expect to receive their 2011 incentive payments in May. CMS began the attestation phase on April 18. Physicians may receive as much as $44,000 from Medicare and $63,750 from Medicaid for the implementation and so-called meaningful use of certified HER over the next few years.

Physicians participating in the incentive program will receive payments based on 75% of their total Medicare allowed charges, and the maximum allowed charges for a 2011 incentive payment is $24,000. So the maximum incentive payment for the first participation year is $18,000.

The payments will be made the same way other Medicare reimbursements are made, via electronic funds transfer or by paper check, according to the ONC. For electronic transfers, incentive payments will be deposited in the first bank account on file, noted on the bank account statements as "EHR Incentive Payment.

HealthcareIT News reported that four physicians have become the first to receive their incentive checks: Juan Salazar, MD, an internal medicine physician from McAllen, Tex., and three physicians from West Broadway Clinic of Council Bluffs, Iowa.