Saturday, July 11, 2009

45,000 Physicians Qualify for Medicaid IT ARRA Stimulus Funds

It is important to note that not just the percentage Medicaid patients is used to qualify but any patient who is in financial need is included. SV

WASHINGTON and NEW YORK – About 45,000 office-based physicians, including nearly all physicians who practice at federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and half of office-based pediatricians, may be eligible for up to $63,750 over six years to improve and maintain their health information technology (HIT) systems because of their participation in Medicaid, according to a new analysis by GW researchers funded through the Geiger Gibson/RCHN Community Health Foundation Research Collaborative.

Beginning in 2011, office-based physicians whose patient mix includes at least 30 percent Medicaid beneficiaries are eligible for up to $63,750 over six years, as long as they are able to demonstrate “meaningful use” of HIT. A lower 20 percent threshold can be used in the case of pediatricians. Physicians who predominantly practice at FQHCs and other settings can qualify if 30 percent of their patient base is characterized as “needy,” including those covered by Medicaid, those who receive uncompensated care and patients who are charged income-related sliding scale fees. GW researchers estimate about 15 percent of all the office-based physicians in the nation would qualify for the Medicaid HIT incentives, including nearly 99 percent of FQHC physicians. If all qualifying physicians apply for the Medicaid incentives and receive the maximum level of payments, the federal government would invest more than $2.8 billion in HIT.

Geiger Gibson/RCHN report

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