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Half of Eligible Docs Were in 'Meaningful Use' Program, CMS Says

By Rebecca Adams, CQ Roll Call

April 23, 2015 -- About half of the physicians and other eligible professionals who could participate in the federal electronic medical records incentive program did so in 2013, according to a report that the Obama administration planned to release last week. The number of providers participating rose by 47 percent from 2012 to 2013.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released statistics showing that 641,654 eligible medical professionals participated in the so-called meaningful use program in 2013, up from 435,931 professionals who participated in 2012. Incentive payments to physicians and other eligible professionals who met CMS standards totaled almost $215 million that year.

Some 469,755 medical professionals face penalties of 1.5 percent in Medicare payments for not adopting an electronic medical records system that met CMS guidelines. The meaningful use program prods physician practices to use electronic records to track patient histories, paying incentives in early years. 

Another program that incentivized physicians to electronically transmit prescriptions paid out more than $168 million in 2013. That year, 377,004 eligible professionals participated, which was an increase of 9 percent from the previous year.

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