New electronic health records effort gets good start in state

Mar 14, 2012 Staff

Encouraging the use of electronic health records by Wyoming healthcare providers is the goal of the Wyoming Department of Health's Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Program.

The federally funded EHR incentive program was authorized under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

"EHR technology can help Wyoming's healthcare providers see an increase in productivity for their practice," said Teri Green, state Medicaid agent with the Wyoming Department of Health.

According to Rural Assistance Center, health information technology has the potential to transform healthcare.

Integrating a patient's health information into an electronic health record (and health information exchange offers multiple opportunities for benefits such as: improving patient care, improving efficiency and reimbursement and improving health.

Since launching in December 2011, Wyoming has had 69 providers and nine hospitals register for the program through our state-level registry.

The Wyoming Department of Health has approved federal payments of approximately $4.5 million in incentive funding to nine hospitals and 29 other providers that have attested to adopting, implementing or upgrading an EHR.

"We see the potential for some very real benefits in Wyoming through the adoption of electronic health records," Green said. "For example, we believe EHR technology will help our provid-ers connect more easily with telehealth options, which provide enhanced access to care for rural Wyoming citizens."

Eligible medical professionals can receive up to $63,750 over the six years they choose to participate in the program.

To be eligible for the program providers must have a 30 percent Medicaid patient volume in a 90-day reporting period or 20 percent for pediatricians.

Eligible providers may still participate in the program and receive incentive payments for the 2011 calendar year until March 30.

The last year to register for the program and receive the full $63,750 payment will be 2016.

For more information on Wyoming's EHR incentive program, visit online.

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