Electronic Health Records Demonstration Now Available

December 11, 2008

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has developed a new demonstration initiative to reward the delivery of high-quality care supported by the adoption and use of electronic health records (EHR). The goal of this five-year demonstration project is to foster the implementation and adoption of EHRs and health information technology (HIT) more broadly as effective vehicles, thereby improving the quality of care provided and transform the way medicine is practiced and delivered.

Participants in the demonstration are required to have a Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT)-certified EHR by the end of the second year. As part of the demonstration, physician practices must have already utilized the EHR to perform specific minimum core functionalities that can positively impact patient care processes (e.g., clinical documentation, ordering of lab tests, recording lab tests, and recording of prescriptions). However, the core incentive payment will be based on performance on the quality measures, with an enhanced bonus based on the degree of HIT functionality used to manage care.

The demonstration is being implemented in two phases. Phase I includes the following four sites

  • Louisiana
  • Southwest Pennsylvania
  • South Dakota (and some counties in bordering states
  • Maryland and the District of Columbia

Recruitment of physician practices in the four Phase I sites was initiated on September 2, 2008, and the enrollment period closed on November 26, 2008. Phase I demonstration operations will begin June 1, 2009.

Practice recruitment in the remaining 8 (Phase II) sites will occur late summer and fall 2009.

View the CMS demonstration web page.