The meaningful use incentives are designed to ensure that patients receive cost-effective and quality care. As technology changes, it's crucial for medical facilities to keep themselves up-to-date with the latest systems. Working with a firm specializing in healthcare consulting services can ensure that the implementation process runs smoothly.
Many healthcare organizations have already started to integrate electronic health records (EHRs) and other innovations into their daily operations. In fact, according to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, 39 percent of the eligible facilities were awarded a total of $1.7 billion in Medicaid EHR incentives for 2011.
The Medicaid health IT incentive program originally had low participation, yet the remarkably high amount of providers receiving payments is a great achievement, according to an InformationWeek Healthcare article.
"The relatively high percentage of providers receiving these payments in the first year is remarkable in light of the fact that until October 2011, less than half of the states had made any EHR incentive payments. (By the end of the year, 43 states had)," the article said.
Furthermore, acute care hospitals were 1.7 times more likely, and children's hospitals were 1.6 times more likely, than critical-access hospitals to receive Medicaid rewards. The report also found a direct correlation between total charges and the likelihood of hospitals getting incentive payments. Essentially, the more patients admitted to a hospital, the greater likelihood of the organization receiving incentives.
One surprising aspect of the findings, is where a majority of the facilities given the payments have their specialties - few were non-primary care. Over half - 52 percent - were pediatricians, and nearly 16 percent were ob/gyns, who provide a good deal of primary care to women.
Regardless of a healthcare organization's specialty, it's important to keep patient care and safety a top priority. Partnering with a healthcare consulting company that understands the intricacies of healthcare IT consulting can be greatly beneficial.