Meaningful Use Payments To Continue Despite Gov’t Shutdown

Meaningful use incentive payments will continue despite a federal government shutdown, according to National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari, MedPage Today‘s “The Gupta Guide” reports.

Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record systems can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments (Pittman, “The Gupta Guide,” MedPage Today, 10/3).

Background on Shutdown

The shutdown came after lawmakers on Monday failed to advance legislation to continue funding the federal government.

Only four of the 184 employees at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT were retained during the shutdown to work on the “orderly phase-down and suspension of operations.”

Meanwhile, HHS furloughed 52% of its workforce, or about 40,512 employees (iHealthBeat, 10/1).

Meaningful Use Payments Continue

In a tweet on Thursday, Mostashari wrote that CMS “continues to process mandatory payments to docs and hospitals.”

He added that meaningful use incentive payments “do not come from annual appropriations” and that CMS “continue[s] to receive attestations.”

Thursday was the last day that physicians and eligible professionals could start the attestation process to qualify for Stage 1 meaningful use program incentive payments in 2013 (“The Gupta Guide,” MedPage Today, 10/3).

Meanwhile, the federal government shutdown led to the postponement of a House committee hearing on FDA’s health IT regulatory strategy that was scheduled for Thursday, Modern Healthcare‘s “Vital Signs” reports.

Among those scheduled to testify at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee were:

  • Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health; and
  • Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

They were slated to discuss the FDA Safety Innovation Act (Conn, “Vital Signs,” Modern Healthcare, 10/3).

The act authorized the creation of the FDASIA work group, which was tasked with developing a report that proposes strategies and recommendations for a risk-based regulatory framework for mobile health applications and other health IT tools (iHealthBeat, 8/8).

Source: iHealthBeat, Friday, October 4, 2013