Medicare Meaningful Use program overview

The Medicare Meaningful Use EHR Incentive Program provides incentive payments to eligible health care providers for successfully demonstrating "meaningful use" of certified EHR technology. The program is run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in conjunction with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC).

To receive a Medicare Meaningful Use incentive payment, providers have to show they are "meaningfully using" an EHR by meeting thresholds for a number of objectives that can positively impact patient care. Eligible professionals can receive up to $44,000 in Medicare Meaningful Use payments by meeting Medicare's program requirements over five consecutive years. Beginning in 2015, providers who are eligible for the Meaningful Use program but have not yet participated will be penalized financially, via a set reduction in their Medicare reimbursements.

More than 5,000 hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAH) are also eligible to participate in the program. For those entities, Medicare Meaningful Use incentive payments are based on a number of factors, but start with a $2 million base payment.

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