Two-thirds of office-based physicians plan to apply or have already applied for meaningful use incentives for using electronic health records (EHRs), a government survey found.
A recent study from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) shows that two-thirds of office based physicians plan to apply, or have applied for meaningful use incentives. However, only about a quarter have computer systems that support Stage 1 meaningful use objectives – a prerequisite for receiving the incentives.
Among physicians who had already applied or intended to apply for incentives, only 27% had EHR systems capable of supporting the Stage 1 core objectives for meaningful use. Meaningful use refers to provisions in the 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which authorized incentive payments through Medicare and Medicaid to clinicians and hospitals that use electronic health records in a meaningful way that significantly improves clinical care.
Also, some of the physicians meeting the Stage 1 requirements may not meet the additional two requirements for Stage 2, which is part of the incentive program, the report noted.
And under the proposed Stage 2 rule, providers who haven’t proven they’ve met the Stage 1 requirements of meaningful use by Oct. 3, 2014, face a 1% cut in Medicare Part B pay starting in 2015, and the percentage is expected to increase a percentage point each year thereafter for at least a couple of years.
The federal government will provide incentive payments of up to $44,000 per physician over 5 years through Medicare and $63,750 per physician over 5 years through Medicaid to providers who are meaningful users.
The CDC’s survey found 72% of office-based physicians used an electronic health record in 2012, up significantly from 48% in 2009 and 57% from last year.
The report looked at data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, an annual, nationally representative survey conducted by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. This year, the survey was mailed to more than 10,000 physicians, and 67% responded.