Health Information Management

News: EHR incentive payments on the rise, GAO says; ACDIS EHR position paper outlines roles for CDI

CDI Strategies, November 7, 2013

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CMS awarded approximately $6.3 billion in Medicare EHR Incentive Program payments in 2012, according to a report released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). That’s more than twice the $2.3 billion in incentive payments eligible professionals (EP), eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAH) received in 2011, GAO reported. CMS awarded incentive payments to a greater number of hospitals in 2012 than in 2011, and some hospitals and EPs were more likely than others to receive these payments.

From 2011 to 2012, the number of eligible hospitals that received incentive payments nearly tripled. In 2012, CMS awarded incentive payments to 2,291 eligible hospitals, which represented approximately 48% of all eligible hospitals in the U.S., according to GAO. Comparatively, 16% of eligible hospitals (777) received payments in 2011, GAO reported.

The final day for eligible hospitals and CAHs to submit attestation to receive a 2013 incentive payment for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program is November 30. Deadlines for 2013 attestation under the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program are available on the CMS website.

Although the implementation of electronic health records (EHR) promised to improve productivity, data capture, specificity, and efficiency, there remain a number of reasons for concern in this new digital environment, according to a new position statement released by the ACDIS advisory board in this month’s edition of CDI Journal. While CDI professionals play an important role in the implementation and education associated with EHRs, ACDIS warns against making CDI specialists the “wardens at the gate” of the new systems.

“CDI specialists have a specialized skill set and a high level of clinical knowledge and training,” according to the position paper. Yet “many EHR problems are endemic to the software and/or are clerical in nature, and are best addressed by information technology (IT) staff.”

Editor’s Note: Portions of this article were originally published in the October edition of the CDI Journal and in the eNewsletter HIM-HIPAA Insider.

The ACDIS EHR position paper has been posted as the Featured Article on the ACDIS homepage for a limited time and is available to the public.

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