BALTIMORE – Oklahoma and Kentucky have become the first states under the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program to make incentive payments to providers for the adoption of certified EHRs, according to CMS.
In Kentucky, the University of Kentucky (UK) Healthcare and Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington became the first hospitals in the country to receive checks under the 2009 stimulus law. UK received $2.8 million, and Central Baptist received $1.3 million.
In Oklahoma two physicians at the Gastorf Family Clinic of Durant, Okla., received $21,250 each, for having adopted certified EHRs.
According to CMS, Kentucky, Iowa, Louisiana and Oklahoma are the first states to receive the Medicaid incentive payments for the purchase and use of EHRs. The incentive program for hospitals is set to run through 2016, the year targeted for completion of a nationwide health information network.
Twenty-five additional providers in Kentucky said they have begun the application process to receive payment.
"Electronic health records can do so much to improve efficiency, reduce medical error and, ultimately, change the face of the American healthcare system," said that state's governor, Steve Beshear. "Being among the first states to receive the Medicaid incentive payments is evidence that Kentucky has established a structure to move these efforts forward and is truly leading the way in this nationwide effort. Kentucky providers are showing their commitment to becoming users of technology that not only stores records in a different way, but also makes it possible to exchange and receive records from other providers and health care facilities."
Over the next four years, Kentucky is expected to receive more than $100 million in incentive payments for hospitals to ensure that its healthcare community is working to implement electronic health record systems that can share and receive data as part of a statewide exchange of electronic health records.
"The incentive program is helping bolster the work of our providers to implement effective electronic health record systems within their facilities – and it also ensures that facilities are using systems that can connect to a statewide network," said Janie Miller, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Cabinet. "This dramatically enhances our efforts to encourage hospitals, pharmacies and medical practices to adopt systems that can communicate with one another and exchange health care information in a useful and meaningful way."