If the nearly $25 billion paid out so far through the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs is making some American taxpayers uneasy, they need not worry. Providers who don’t successfully demonstrate meaningful use will soon start paying hefty penalties that over several years could ultimately save the federal government billions of dollars.

Financial penalties by means of lower Medicare reimbursement for failure to become meaningful users of electronic health records are “just kicking in” in 2015, Judy Murphy, chief nursing officer in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT told the general session on Tuesday at AHIMA’s annual conference in San Diego. Over time, the penalties could yield savings to the federal government of up to $6 billion.

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