Vermont Medicaid Pays Out $8 Million in EHR Incentives
March 27, 2012, Montpelier, Vt. -- The Department of Vermont Health Access (DVHA) is continuing to make payments to Vermont health care providers who are adopting, implementing, or upgrading electronic health records systems. So far, payments have been issued to 116 eligible professionals and four hospitals.
In addition, 57 eligible professionals and one hospital have successfully completed the application process and their payments are pending from the state.
By the end of March, a total of more than $8 million will be paid out by the Vermont Medicaid program, as part of the federal EHR incentive program approved by Congress in 2009. Eligible professionals can receive up to $21,250 in the first year and up to $63,750 over the life of the program.
"These strategic investments in electronic health records demonstrate how health care reform can improve the health of Vermonters and support a vital sector of our workforce," said DVHA Commissioner Mark Larson. "President Obama and Governor Shumlin have recognized the importance of investing in technology that will improve patient care and support health care providers in the transition to a smarter health care system. This is a smart investment that everyone benefits from."
Vermont physician practices are receiving help in making the transition to electronic health records and meeting federal criteria for improving patient care from Vermont Information Technology Leaders, Inc. (VITL), a non-profit organization. VITL has been designated by the federal government as a regional extension center for health information, the only such center serving Vermont. VITL is receiving federal and state funding to provide assistance to Vermont's primary care practitioners, and has signed up more than 850 of the approximately 1,000 PCPs in the state to work on adopting EHRs and achieving meaningful use under the federal EHR incentive program.
"Not only do we provide help with choosing and implementing an electronic health records system, we coach health care providers on how to use it to measure and improve patient care," said VITL President and CEO David Cochran, MD. "Health care providers who are successful receive substantial funding, but the real winners are their patients."
Implementation of an EHR and preparation for meaningful use also helps prepare a practice to participate successfully in the state's Blueprint for Health care improvement initiatives, Dr. Cochran added.
More information about Medicaid EHR Incentive Program is on the VITL website at http://www.vitl.net/medicaid. Information about VITL's regional extension center for health IT program is at http://www.vitl.net/rec