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Electronic Health Records For Dummies by Anita Samarth, Trenor Williams

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Factoring in the incentive payments and penalties

Thousands of clinics implemented EHRs before there were nice federal incentive packages, but fortunately, you can use both traditional ROI metrics and the additional ARRA stimulus funding to offset your costs. If you’re eligible for incentives, they play a huge role in your analysis of costs and benefits. Remember that you will only receive the CMS financial incentives after you become a “meaningful user” of the EHR and meet each specific requirement.

How much you can potentially receive depends on the year you begin qualifying. Here is the payment breakdown:

If your first qualifying year is 2011 or 2012, you can receive up to $18,000 in EHR-related incentives.

If you don’t apply until 2013, the annual incentive payment limits in the first through fourth years are $15,000, $12,000, $8000, and $4000, respectively, for a total of $39,000.

The maximum amount of incentive payments you can receive under Medicare is $44,000. That’s not chump change.

If you meet the Medicaid patient volume requirements, you can receive a higher potential first year payment, which is an incentive payment of $21,250 and a total of $63,750. Your timing to receive this payment is limited by your state’s level of readiness to process Medicaid payments for Meaningful Use, so it will be important to check with your specific state’s Medicaid office or REC to obtain this information.

The EHR incentive rule suggests a 90-day reporting period for the first year ...

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