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posted on August 21, 2012 12:50

Idaho Medicaid has made its first payments to three medical providers who have begun participation in an incentive program to encourage them to adopt electronic health records (EHR).

• Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise received its first payment, totaling $1.37 million.
• Mountain View Hospital in Idaho Falls received $602,839.
• Dr. Terence Neff with Coeur d’Alene Pediatrics received $21,250.

The Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, created in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, makes payments to hospitals and medical professionals who demonstrate they are adopting, implementing, upgrading and/or demonstrating meaningful use of electronic records. The payments can help offset the costs of adopting a certified system. The Medicaid Incentive Program, which ends in 2021, is administered by the states. Registration for the program in Idaho began on July 2.
Electronic health records eliminate paper charts and help connect all of each patient’s health care providers so they can better coordinate and improve quality of care.

Hospitals and medical professionals must apply each year to be in the program. Payments to hospitals vary depending on a complex formula spelled out by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In Idaho, hospitals can receive up to three annual payments, if they remain eligible. Professionals, including doctors, dentists and nurse practitioners, can get up to six yearly payments for a maximum total of $63,750.

So far, 19 hospitals and nearly 100 medical professionals in Idaho have applied to be in the program, according to Michele Turbert of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. DHW estimates that 22 hospitals and 225 professionals may apply during this first year.

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