The ARRA: Exactly how much money is available to Physicians and what must they do to maximize incentives?

As part of the Stimulus package, non hospital based Physicians can receive up to $44,000 in incentives if they are able to demonstrate “meaningful use” of an electronic health record (EHR) by 2011. Incentives are based on a Physician’s Medicare and Medicaid charges and are capped based on when the Physician is a meaningful user of an EHR.

Overall, if Physicians demonstrate meaningful use by 2011, they can maximize the incentive program and receive the full $44,000. For each year that goes by without meaningful use, incentive quantities are reduced and eventually a Physician’s Medicare payment rates will be reduced if meaningful use is not demonstrated by 2015. For example, if a physician does not demonstrate meaningful use by 2015 their Medicare payments will be reduced by 1%. If not by 2016, their Medicare payments may be reduced by 2% and possibly so on (as years post 2016 have not been outlined).

Below is a summary of how incentives can be maximized if meaningful use is demonstrated in a given year:

Payment Year Incentive
First Payment Year
$18,000 if the first payment year is 2011 or 2012
$15,000 if the first payment year is 2013
$12,000 if the first payment year is 2014
Second Payment Year $12,000
Third Payment Year $8,000
Fourth Payment Year $4,000
Fifth Payment Year $2,000

The funding outlined above has been summarized by HIMSS and does not include additional opportunities which may be made available by the States through grants and loans.

You can find the entire legislation at:

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