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Monday Oct 28, 2013

Family physicians among the largest group getting EHR incentives

The number of eligible professionals receiving federal incentives for using electronic health records (EHRs) increased last year with family physicians being among the most likely to receive them.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office on Thursday released a review of Medicare incentive payments(www.gao.gov) awarded in 2011-2012.

Overall, the government gave out $6.3 billion in EHR incentives to providers and hospitals last year, compared with $2.3 billion in 2011.

The GAO said 62,285 "general practice" physicians, a group that included family practice and internal medicine, received incentives in 2012, representing 43 percent of eligible general practice physicians in the country.  Far more specialty practice physicians received incentives – 102,328 – but that represented only 29 percent of the total eligible.

By comparison, 22,094 general practice physicians (16 percent of those eligible) and 29,259 specialists (9 percent) participated in the incentive program in 2011.

About two-thirds of individuals received the maximum 2012 Medicare incentive of $18,000.

Other characteristics of the 2012 recipients, according to the GAO:

  • 9 of 10 work in urban areas,
  • 44 percent had relatively high amounts of Medicare Part B charges,
  • 44 percent worked in practices of 10 or fewer professionals
  • They were almost twice as likely to receive incentives if they had requested technical assistance from their Regional Extension Center.

Posted at 10:45AM Oct 28, 2013 by David Twiddy

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