About 85 percent of Medicare meaningful use early adopters have successfully attested for 2011, 2012 and 2013, according to the latest estimates from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The "very raw, gross" numbers of eligible professionals released at last week's Health IT Policy Committee meeting are based on data from the 2013 attestation period which ended on March 31.

"I do want to put out a caveat that this is estimated data," said Elisabeth Myers from the CMS Office of E-Health Standards and Services at an April 8 Health IT Policy Committee meeting. "We have not run all of the cross checks with all of the various systems. We have not received the Medicaid reports from all of the states. So, these are just the very beginning, very raw gross data pushed out of the system."

Myers said that in 2013 a total of 224,000 eligible professionals attested to meaningful use for the Medicare EHR incentive program. There were about 63,000 first-year attesters (all eligible professionals for the Medicare program), approximately 114,000 second-year attesters, and a little less than 47,000 third year attesters (returning early adopters). Jennifer King from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT told the committee that the "vast majority of eligible providers have attested to Stage 1 so far, especially on the hospital side and also over half of eligible professionals."

In the meeting, HIT Policy Committee member Paul Egerman asked Myers how many hospitals as of February had attested to Stage 2, to which she replied that there were a couple of hospitals that were in progress. Egerman pressed that "February is five months into the [fiscal] year" asking "do you think Stage 2 is off to an encouraging start?" to which Myers answered "we have no way of knowing that." However, he said it is his understanding that "even now, half way through the year, less than 20 hospitals have attested."

Myers cited hospital concerns about the availability of 2014 software from vendors. "So, it's off to a slow start but it's really the fault of vendors?" asked Egerman. "I'm not putting fault on vendors necessarily," replied Myers. "It's the software's availability and availability to implement. It does take time."   

She did, however, report that 94 percent of eligible hospitals have registered for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive program and for the first time more than 90 percent of eligible hospitals have been paid through the program, according to the latest data from CMS.

When it comes to eligible professionals, Myers said that 56 percent are registered for the Medicare program and 28 percent are registered for the Medicaid program. About 15 percent of eligible professionals have not registered for either program. Forty-two percent of Medicare eligible professionals and 21 percent of Medicaid eligible professionals have been paid. 

She also reported that in February CMS added 9,387 registrants to the EHR incentive program, for a total of 458,137 eligible provider registrants. The total number of eligible provider registrants include 302,244 Medicare eligible professionals, 151,182 Medicaid eligible professionals, and 4,711 eligible hospitals. 

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