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Who Qualifies for the EHR / EMR Healthcare Stimulus?

The HITECH Act specifies that physicians can qualify for up to $44,000 (or more depending on where you practice) in economic stimulus incentives for adopting an EHR. What does this exactly mean? Does your practice qualify? Here are a few answers concerning HITECH incentives:

Are HITECH incentives per physician or per office?

HITECH incentives are paid on a per provider basis. For example, a practice with two physicians and a nurse practitioner using an EHR could qualify for $132,000 in Medicare incentives.

What types of health care providers can qualify for HITECH incentives?

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA – start on page 114) details that the following all qualify for HITECH incentives:

Hospitals
Skilled nursing facilities
Nursing facilities
Home health entities
Long term care facilities
Health care clinics
Community mental health centers
Renal dialysis facilities
Blood centers
Ambulatory surgical centers
Emergency medical service providers

Federally qualified health centers (FQHC)
Group practices
Pharmacists
Laboratories
Physicians (See below)
Practitioners (See below)
Indian Health Service providers
Rural health clinics
Therapists

What types of physicians qualify for HITECH incentives?

The following types of practices can all qualify for $44,000 or more in HITECH stimulus incentives according to the definitions in the Social Security Act, section 1861(r):

Doctor of Medicine or Osteopathy – M.D. or D.O.
Doctor of Dental Surgery or Medicine – D.D.S or D.D.M
Doctor of Podiatric Medicine – D.P.M.
Doctor of Optometry – O.D.
Chiropractor – D.C.

What types of medical practitioners are included in HITECH?

In addition to the list above, ARRA references “providers as defined in the Social Security Act, section 1842” as qualifying for HITECH incentives. This includes:

A physician assistant, nurse practitioner, or clinical nurse specialist
A certified registered nurse anesthetist
A certified nurse-midwife
A clinical social worker
A clinical psychologist
A registered dietitian or nutrition professional

Which geographic areas qualify for HITECH incentives?

ARRA specifies the following regions and territories as qualifying for HITECH incentives:

All 50 US states
The District of Columbia
Puerto Rico
The Virgin Islands
Guam
American Samoa
The Northern Mariana Islands

What types of medical practices do not qualify for HITECH incentives?

The following types of practices do not qualify for incentives based on our current understanding of the program:

Free clinics that don’t bill Medicare or Medicaid
Physical therapists
Hospital-based physicians such as pathologists, anesthesiologists or emergency physicians
Acupuncturists and other holistic providers
Any practice not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid payments