Lawmakers Look to Expand Medicaid EHR Incentive Program Eligibility

MITECH Act Reintroduced to Expand Medicaid EHR Incentive ProgramMITECH Act Reintroduced to Expand Medicaid EHR Incentive Program

Last week lawmakers reintroduced efforts to expand meaningful use incentive payments to certain clinics and safetey-net providers who are not currently eligible for the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.  The Medicaid Information Technology to Enhance Community Health Act of 2013 (MITECH Act), is similar a bill sponsored by then-Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) last year (S 3539). The Kerry bill looked to change the 30% Medicaid threshold required to participate in the Medicaid EHR incentive program. That bill never passed through the Senate Finance Committee.

Under the HITECH Act, Eligible Professionals qualify for Medicaid EHR incentives by meeting one of the following criteria:

  • Have a minimum 30% Medicaid patient volume
  • Have a minimum 20% Medicaid patient volume, and is a pediatrician
  • Practice predominantly in a Federally Qualified Health Center or Rural Health Center and have a minimum 30% patient volume attributable to needy individuals

Refer to the CMS User Guide for complete details on the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.

Now, Lois Capps (D-Calif.) and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) have reintroduced the MITECH Act of 2013 in the House and Senate, respectively.  Like last year’s Kerry bill, the new bill calls for adding a term for individuals or organizations designated as a qualified safety-net clinic, or QSNC-based, under title XIX of the Social Security Act “to encourage the adoption and use of certified EHR technology by safety-net providers and clinics under the Medicaid program.” QSNC status would be based on “the site of service,” without regard to employment or billing arrangements between providers and eligible professionals.  The new bill would also require the federal government by Jan. 1, 2015, to develop regulations and procedures for QSNC facilities to demonstrate meaningful use.

In a statement about the bill, Capps said “It is critical that we support health care providers working with our nation’s most vulnerable populations, no matter what setting they practice in. This bill would even the playing field and encourage providers to implement electronic health records, increasing efficiencies and improving the health system so that we can continue to provide high-quality care to all Americans.”