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FAQ's About Stimulus

What healthcare IT incentives are available for the Stimulus Plan?

The government is investing 19 billion dollars into healthcare - for physicians and hospitals. The bulk of this investment is going to modernizing healthcare technology - particularly by use of electronic health records (EHR).

What is the difference between Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and Electronic Health Records (EHR)?

Electronic Health Records and Electronic Medical Records are terms that Precision HealthCare, and many others in the healthcare technology industry use interchangeably. EMR/EHRs are electronic versions of patient records. In the past, Electronic Health Records were distinguished as including the ability for reporting. However, with full suites of medical software that include Practice Management (PM) along with EMR, electronic medical records are capable of clinical reporting as well. Therefore, in terms of the stimulus package, they are essentially the same.

How Has McKesson  participated in the legislation and why does it matter?
McKesson has been a part of the legislative process for the healthcare stimulus since even before President Obama was in office. Just before this year, McKesson also finalized its recommendations for the healthcare IT investment, which was published on the page before President Obama took office.
This is important for you to know because much of the legislation has still not yet been decided. McKesson will continue to play an active role in the process. As McKesson is the maker of EMR software like Medisoft Clinical- link to EMR Page, they are actively participating to ensure that the software they provide will be certified to qualify you for the stimulus.

Who can qualify for the Stimulus Package?
Qualified medical professionals for the Medicare HIT incentive include doctors of medicine, osteopathy, surgery, dental medicine, podiatric medicine, optometry and chiropractors. You must also not be hospital based, demonstrate meaningful use of a certified EHR and Submit Medicare Part B Claims.

The Medicaid incentive is extended to include certified nurse mid-wives, nurse practitioners and physicians assistants (under certain circumstances). You must also not be hospital based, demonstrate meaningful use of a certified EHR and at least 30% of your patients must receive Medicaid assistance (this is lowered to 20% for pediatricians).

HOT TOPIC What is "Meaningful Use of a Certified EMR?"
Meaningful Use Criteria has been released! Click Here to Read More

Can I still qualify if I already had an EMR before the stimulus was passed?
Yes, absolutely. You may also qualify for the early adopter incentive. Anyone who qualifies before 2011 is eligible for the early adopter incentive of another $3,000 for the first year.

What's the maximum amount I can receive and when will I receive it?
Funds for physicians will become available on January 1, 2011. The maximum amount if you qualify under Medicare is $44,000 over 5 years. This includes the early adopter incentive. In order to qualify for the early adopter bonus, you should start implementing and training now if you have not already. The payments are front loaded, with the bulk of the payments coming in the first 2 years. For Medicaid, the maximum amount is $64,000 over 6 years.

What happens if I don't use an EMR?
If you do not demonstrate meaningful use of electronic medical records, by 2015, you will see a reduction in your Medicare payments. For 2015, you could lose 1% of your Medicare payments. This percentage will increase by 1% until 2017, at which point the secretary may increase the reduction up to 5%.

HOT TOPIC What do I have to do to qualify for the maximum payment?
In order to qualify to receive the stimulus incentive under the Medicare portion, you must be a qualified professional who demonstrates meaningful use of an EMR and submit Medicare Part B claims. The EMR stimulus pays you the amount of 75% of your Medicare Part B claims, up to the maximum of $44,000 over 5 years, which the bulk of the payments in the first two years. In order to receive the maximum payment, you bill the following amounts in Medicare Part B claims:
  • $24k for the first year
  • $16k for the second year
  • $10.7k for the third year
  • $5.3k for the fourth year
  • $2.7 for the fifth year

You must also qualify for the early adopter bonus of $3,000. In order to get the early adopter bonus, you must have an EMR implemented, be properly trained and use the EMR at point of care, which means you need to get started now in order to qualify. Microwize can help you every step of the way.

The Medicaid Provision pays you 85% of the net allowable costs for your EMR. This includes implementation, training maintenance, etc. Therefore, the maximum really depends on the cost of your system. In order to receive a payment, you must first implement an EMR (which will qualify you for your "year 1" payment. By year 2, you must demonstrate "meaningful use." Again, the payments are front-loaded, and it is to your benefit to qualify sooner rather than later.

What products have the latest CCHIT Certification?
Because meaningful use has not yet been defined in its entirety, choosing an EMR that will qualify for the stimulus can be a very difficult decision. A good benchmark would be to determine if   a product meets latest CCHIT Certification guidelines. Meaningful use criteria is expected to be based off of these guidelines. Precision Offers Medisoft Clinical and Practice Partner that meet the latest CCHIT guidelines.

When will payments be made?
Payments start for physicians on January 1st, 2011 and penalties start for lack of EMR adoptoin in 2015

What benefits are there for early adopters?

Early adopters qualify for a $3,000 bonus applied to the first year of payments. Therefore, early adopters increase their maximum payment for the first year from $15,000 to $18,000, and their overall payments from $41,000 to $44,000.

Do hospital based physicians qualify?
No, the stimulus bill specifically states that hospital-based physicians are not eligible.

Who qualifies for the additional 10% rural health incentive for office-based physicians?
An “eligible professional” who predominantly furnishes services in a geographic area that is designated by the HHS Secretary as a health professional shortage area may receive a 10% increase in their annual payment.

HOT TOPIC How will Payments be Made?
Payments have been proposed to be made in a single, consolidated annual payment. Annual Payments are proposed to be equal to 75% of the total Medicare allowed charges for covered services during that year. The Medicare allowed charge is the lesser amount of the actual charge or the Medicare physician fee schedule amount. Please note that these are the proposed methods of payment. The final rule on this is expected spring or early summer 2010.