The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) provides financial incentives to encourage the use of electronic health records (EHR). The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) implemented an incentive program for eligible health care professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals to adopt, implement or demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology. Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is currently able to receive electronic submissions for all four public health-related objectives (Cancer Reporting, Electronic Laboratory Reporting (ELR), Immunizations, and Syndromic Surveillance) and is actively working with hospitals and health care professionals to assist them in meeting these objectives.
All eligible hospitals and eligible professionals intending to work on any of the public health objectives must register with VDH each attestation year in order to receive acknowledgments for Meaningful Use, including those already submitting Meaningful Use data to VDH.
VDH is also the lead agency in development of ConnectVirginia, the statewide Health Information Exchange (HIE). ConnectVirginia provides services that allow healthcare providers to send and receive health information electronically and offers a convenient way to transmit Meaningful Use messages to VDH.
The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provides detailed information on the Electronic Health Record Incentive Program requirements, as well as helpful answers to frequently asked questions, on their web page at http://www.cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms/.
Both Medicare and Medicaid offer financial incentives to providers and hospitals that implement or enhance EHR systems and meet criteria to demonstrate their meaningful use. Specific requirements and timeframes are provided in the regulations. Implementation and effective use of Certified EHR technology is a step toward reforming the health care system and improving health care quality, efficiency, and patient safety.
The Medicaid Provider Incentive Program in Virginia is administered by the Department of Medical Assistance Services. Information is available on the Incentive Program web site: http://dmasva.dmas.virginia.gov/Content_pgs/pr-arra.aspx.