Overview of the new WA EHR Incentive Program
Many providers are aware of the incentives in the federal Stimulus Bill (ARRA) to aid in the mandated transition to Electronic Health Records (EHR). The federal government will supply 100% of the incentive payments to eligible professionals and hospitals, plus 90% of the costs for WA Medicaid to administer the program. The WA Medicaid Purchasing Administration (MPA) is working with the state budget staff to determine how to cover the state’s portion.
Electronic Health Records Incentive Payment Program is part of the overall SMHP (State Medicaid HIT Plan). MPA intends to begin distributing incentive payments by September 2011, pending the approval of their SMHP by the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS). The intent is to encourage broad participation for all eligible providers who see Medicaid clients.
Eligible providers need to either adopt (acquire/install), implement (begin use/train), or upgrade certified EHR technology in this first year in order to pursue the incentives. Meaningful Use criteria will be integrated later.
There are specific eligibility requirements for providers (e.g. a minimum of 30% of clients must be Medicaid, excluding CHIP), but if eligible, the earlier providers sign onto the program, the more federal incentive money is available (~$60k over 6 years).
Simultaneously DSHS/MPA is beginning the work with the State Legislature to adopt rules and procedures for administering the EHR Incentive Payment Program.