A CMS demonstration project to use EHRs to improve the quality of healthcare and reduce errors was recently announced by HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt. The project will be open to small and medium-sized primary care physician practices in a dozen health markets across the country.
Over a five year period, financial incentives will be provided to as many as 1,200 physician practices that use certified EHRs to improve quality as measured by their performance on specific clinical quality measures.
In addition to the incentive payments, bonus payments may be awarded based on a standardized survey measuring the number of EHR functionalities that a physician group is able to incorporate into the practice. Total payments under the demonstration for all five years may be up to $58,000 per physician or $290,000 per practice.
The application period is open through mid May for communities interested in becoming one of the 12 sites. CMS expects to start with four communities in 2008, with the remainder beginning in 2009. One the communities have been selected, CMS will begin working with the communities to recruit physician practices for participation in the demonstration.