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Guide to Participation in the EHR Incentive Program for 2012

This year marks the last year for physicians interested in participating in the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program to receive the maximum payment. Physicians can earn up to $44,000 over five years if they meet the program requirements and begin participating in 2011 or 2012. First-year participants must only comply with the program’s requirements for 90 days. This means that participants in their first year have until Oct. 1 to comply.

Unlike the E-Prescribing Incentive Program, the EHR Incentive Program incentives are limited to physicians. Non-physician practitioners are not eligible for the program. To qualify for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program, physicians must be “meaningful users” of EHRs, meaning they must use an EHR that meets the government’s certification requirements. They must also report on three core measures and three additional measures, many of which are applicable to cardiology. The program also requires that participants e-prescribe. It is important to note that the e-prescribing requirement for the EHR Incentive Program is different from the requirement for the E-Prescribing Incentive Program. EHR Incentive Program participants must comply with both to avoid the e-prescribing penalty (see e-prescribing FAQ).

For those interested in participating in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program, the ACC and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have created a number of resources. Most recently, the ACC worked with CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator on a special webinar to discuss the benefits of EHR implementation, as well as to explain some of the program’s requirements. The archived webinar is available at CardioSource.org/HealthIT. In addition, CMS recently released a guide for beginners to the EHR Incentive Program and has produced measure specification sheets for all of the core and optional requirements. All are available at www.cms.gov/ehrincentiveprograms. For ACC members attending ACC.12 in Chicago, don’t miss the series of health IT related sessions and activities.

Finally, the ACC has partnered with the Managed Care Advisory Group (MCAG) to help members receive maximum incentive payments under the EHR Incentive Program. MCAG uses a dashboard to track physician progress in meeting the Meaningful Use requirements and help identify problem areas. Once requirements are met, MCAG will complete and send the application for the incentive bonus to CMS. Get the details.

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