GAO Reports on EHR Incentive Recipients

A Government Accountability Office report released October 24, 2013 found a large increase in EHR Incentive Program payments to eligible hospitals (EHs) and eligible professionals (EPs) in 2012 compared to 2011.  In Electronic Health Records:  Number and Characteristics of Providers Awarded Medicare Incentive Payments for 2011-2012, GAO reported that EHs & EPs were awarded $6.3 billion in Medicare EHR incentive payments for 2012, more than twice the $2.3 billion awarded to hospitals and professionals for 2011. 

Highlights of the report include:

HOSPITALS

  • For 2012, 2,291 EHs, or 48 percent, received payments, an increase compared to 2011, when 777 hospitals, or 16 percent of EHs, were awarded payments
  • 72 percent of participating hospitals nationwide were awarded an incentive payment for the first time in 2012
  • In 33 states, less than half of eligible hospitals received incentive payments for 2012; in 18 states, the percentage that received incentive payments was 50 percent or more
  • Acute care hospitals were nearly twice as likely as critical access hospitals to have been awarded an incentive payment for 2012
  • Rural hospitals were 3.1 times more likely to have been awarded an incentive payment for 2012 compared to 2011, a slightly greater increase than for hospitals overall

 PHYSICIANS

  • 183,712 professionals were awarded payments for 2012, which represents 31 percent of the eligible professionals and an increase compared to 2011, when 58,331 professionals, or 10 percent of those eligible, were awarded incentive payments.
  • Nationwide, 75 percent of participating professionals were awarded an incentive payment for the first time in 2012
  • General practice physicians were 1.5 times more likely than specialty practice physicians to have been awarded an incentive payment for 2012
  • 90 percent of professionals participating in the incentive program in 2012 were in urban areas
  • Professionals who had signed an agreement to receive technical assistance from a Regional Extension Center were 1.9 times more likely to have been awarded an incentive payment than those who had not


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