Registration for the Medicare incentive program for meaningful use of electronic health records, as well as Medicaid MU programs in 11 states, started on January 3, 2011.

Hospitals and eligible professionals soon registering and completing a 90-day reporting period under the Medicare program could attest meaningful use in April and receive incentive checks in May. Early Medicaid attestation under a much simpler method for demonstrating meaningful use could result in checks being cut in January or February.

Medicaid programs ready on Jan. 3 are Alaska, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. Registration will open in February in California, Missouri and North Dakota. Other states on a rolling basis will launch their Medicaid meaningful use incentive programs during the spring and summer.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Web site for the meaningful use programs includes a list of starting dates and deadlines for the first year of the Stage 1 meaningful use program:

* October 1, 2010 - Reporting year begins for eligible hospitals and CAHs.

* January 1, 2011 - Reporting year begins for eligible professionals.

* January 3, 2011 - Registration for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program begins.

* January 3, 2011 - For Medicaid providers, states may launch their programs if they so choose.

* April 2011 - Attestation for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program begins.

* May 2011 - EHR Incentive Payments expected to begin.

* July 3, 2011 - Last day for eligible hospitals to begin their 90-day reporting period to demonstrate meaningful use for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program.

* September 30, 2011 - Last day of the federal fiscal year. Reporting year ends for eligible hospitals and CAHs.

* October 1, 2011 - Last day for eligible professionals to begin their 90-day reporting period for calendar year 2011 for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program.

* November 30, 2011 - Last day for eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals to register and attest to receive an Incentive Payment for Federal fiscal year (FY) 2011.

* December 31, 2011 - Reporting year ends for eligible professionals.

* February 29, 2012 - Last day for eligible professionals to register and attest to receive an Incentive Payment for calendar year (CY) 2011.

More information is available at cms.gov/ehrincentiveprograms, cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms/10_PathtoPayment.asp, and cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms/20_RegistrationandAttestation.asp.

--Joseph Goedert

 

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