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CMS: Almost $4.5 billion in EHR payments

Nearly $4.5 billion in federal incentives to implement electronic health record systems has been paid out thus far, with program enrollments and payments still increasing in the first quarter of 2012, according to an analysis of the CMS' latest data (PDF).

There are now more than a quarter of a million (225,765) actively enrolled participants in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, according to the CMS. Hospitals can receive payments under both the Medicare and the Medicaid programs, and most do, but physicians and other professionals can participate only in one program or the other.

There have been 2,667 payments made to hospitals under the Medicare or Medicaid technology programs, or both, totaling nearly $3.1 billion. 

Meanwhile, 222,282 eligible professionals have enrolled, and 73,945 have been paid. Medicare payments to 44,014 eligible professionals have totaled $792 million, while various state Medicaid programs have paid 29,931 eligible professionals $628 million.

Active registrations by hospitals increased by 406, or 13%, in the first quarter of this year to 3,483 participating hospitals, according to the CMS. 

Registrations for eligible professionals rose by 49,310, or nearly 29%, during the quarter to 222,282. Medicaid program enrollments of eligible professionals jumped nearly 51% as more of the late-starting, state-run Medicaid programs came online. 

Medicaid EHR incentive programs are up and running in 43 states; 42 states are making payments.

In comparison, EP enrollments in the federally administered Medicare incentive program rose modestly, by not quite 20%.

The average Medicare payment to hospitals receiving Medicare and Medicaid payments has been $1.78 million. The average Medicaid payment for these hospitals has been slightly more than $789,000. 

The average payment for the 190 Medicare-only hospitals has been slightly more than $1.5 million, and the 78 Medicaid-only hospitals have received an average payment of $2.35 million.

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