Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records

What are Incentive Payments?

The Recovery Act includes funds for payments to eligible providers who adopt, implement, upgrade or demonstrate “meaningful use” of certified EHR technology. Providers may receive a total of $63,750 over six years under the Medicaid EHR incentive program. The first year payment is $21,250 if a provider adopts, implements or upgrades CMS-certified EHR technology or demonstrates Meaningful Use of previously implemented federally certified EHR technology. Incentive payments will be made in five subsequent years if the provider demonstrates meaningful use of federally certified EHR technology by submitting reports on several specified administrative and clinic objectives during those years.

What is Meaningful Use?

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act specifies three main components of Meaningful Use:

  1. The use of a certified EHR in a meaningful manner, such as e-prescribing.
  2. The use of certified EHR technology for electronic exchange of health information to improve quality of health care.
  3. The use of certified EHR technology to submit clinical quality and other measures.

Learn more about Meaningful Use and EHR incentive programs.

Who are “Eligible Providers” for EHR incentive payments?

There are five categories of providers eligible for incentive payments: doctors, dentists, certified nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. These providers must have 30 percent of their patient encounters billed to Medi-Cal, Healthy Families, and/or CHDP. FQHCs’ and rural health centers’ eligible providers must meet a slightly less stringent definition. Thirty percent of their patients must be “needy individuals.” All providers must have an active National Provider Identifier (NPI) number.

How to Get EHR Incentive Payments

  1. Register at CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services)
  2. Create a state-level registry account
  3. Enroll with one of California’s three Regional Extension Centers. Regional Extension Centers (RECs) have been funded to help providers achieve meaningful use; you must sign up with your REC in order to receive support. (Note: Support from an REC is not necessary to get the incentive payments.)
  • The California Health Information Partnership and Services Organization (CalHIPSO)
    CalHIPSO is an organization which helps clinical providers stride towards EHR implementation. They are funded to support 6,187 providers and currently they have 4,608 providers. They service all of California except Los Angeles and Orange County.
  • Health Information Technology Extension Center for Los Angeles (HITEC-LA)
    HITEC-LA is responsible for helping doctors and primary care providers purchase, implement and use electronic health records in a meaningful way in Los Angeles County.
  • The CalOptima Regional Extension Center (COREC)
    COREC will work with eligible providers to integrate Health Information Technology (HIT) into their offices and bring them to meaningful use. COREC serves Orange County .