GAO Reports On First Year Medicaid EHR Incentives

Report on 2011 Medicaid EHR Incentives

Medicaid EHR Incentives in 2011

The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress and investigates how the government spends collected tax money. One of the ways the agency supports congressional oversight is by reporting on how well government programs and policies are meeting their objectives. This includes oversight of the Medicaid EHR Incentives and Medicare EHR Incentives under the HITECH Act. As part of this oversight, last week GAO released its latest report , Electronic Health Records: Number and Characteristics of Providers Awarded Medicaid EHR Incentive Payments for 2011.

In looking at the characteristics of providers awarded Medicaid EHR incentives for 2011  GAO analyzed data from CMS, HHS, the ONC and Surescripts from January 2012 through December. The report also examines the distribution of Medicaid incentive payments across providers, and specifically hospitals, to determine the minimums and maximums of  Medicaid EHR incentives paid.

Summary of Results:

  • 1,964 hospitals and 45,962 professionals were awarded a total of approximately $2.7 billion in Medicaid EHR incentives
  • These 1,964 hospitals represent 39 percent of the 5,013 eligible hospitals and were awarded a total of $1.7 billion in Medicaid EHR incentives
  • The amount of Medicaid EHR incentives awarded to each hospital ranged from $7,528 to $7.2 million; the median payment amount was $613,512
  • Participation rates, as well as total payments, were higher for hospitals in the Medicaid EHR Incentives program compared to the Medicare EHR program

About 50 percent of hospitals accounted for about 80 percent of the total amount of Medicaid incentive payments awarded to hospitals. Among hospitals awarded a Medicaid EHR incentives for 2011 the report found:

  • Largest (46%) were located in the South, the smallest proportion (15%) were located in the Northeast
  • 62% were located in urban areas
  • 80% were acute care hospitals
  • 57%  were nonprofit hospitals

Among Eligible Professionals who received Medicaid EHR incentives for 2011, the report found:

  • Greatest portion (37%) were located in the South, the smallest (20%) were located in the Midwest
  • 83% were located in urban areas
  • 75% were physicians, either general practice physicians (23%) or specialty practice physicians (51%)
  • 47% had signed agreements to receive technical assistance from a Regional Extension Centers

Read and download the GAO report here.