The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services this week will start issuing the first Medicare incentive checks for meaningful use of electronic health records authorized under the HITECH Act.

The number of checks being issued has not yet been determined. Attestation of meaningful use started on April 18, and 150 providers successfully attested that day, CMS has previously stated. The maximum first-year incentive payment for eligible professionals is $18,000. Hospital payments are based on several factors but begin with a $2 million base. Eligible professionals who have successfully attested will get their checks, but payment will not be made until the eligible professional has reached the $24,000 threshold in allowed Medicare charges.

Providers receiving meaningful use incentives will be paid the same way they receive payment for Medicare services, either through an electronic funds transfer or paper check. Payments will appear on the bank statement as "EHR Incentive Payment."

CMS also recently announced that more than $83 million in Medicaid meaningful use incentive payments have been issued since that program started in January. States are rolling out their Medicaid programs throughout 2011.

--Joseph Goedert

 

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