Michigan Medicaid Begins Paying Health Care Providers to Use Electronic Health Records

Contact: Angela Minicuci (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

For Immediate Release: September 27, 2011

LANSING - Working to provide more efficient patient care, Michigan Medicaid has begun making incentive payments to health care providers who switch to using electronic health records (EHRs). To date, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) has distributed $9.3 million in incentive payments to qualified Michigan health care providers who serve Medicaid patients and are beginning to use EHRs.

The Medicaid EHR Incentive Program was created to provide financial incentives for care providers to use EHRs.An additional $69 million is expected to be paid in the next month. The incentive payments are 100% federally funded.

Recent studies have demonstrated that the use of electronic health records leads to higher quality of care and, through increased efficiency, can save taxpayers billions of dollars.

"The move to EHRs will help us better coordinate care for pressing chronic health problems, such as obesity, infant mortality, hypertension, and diabetes," said Olga Dazzo, Director of the MDCH. "Health information technology can help Michigan clinicians take better care of patients while reducing paperwork. They can more easily communicate with other providers, receive and process patient information, and comply with public health reporting requirements more efficiently."

Alcona Health Centers was among the first group of providers to receive incentive payments.

"With incentive program dollars, AHC has been able to support the staffing necessary to help all providers become comfortable and proficient with the new system," said Christine Baumgardner, Executive Director of Alcona Health Centers. "Our ability to serve our patients has been markedly improved by using the system to track needed services, chronic disease measures, and patient trends. It's also been a great way for patients to become actively engaged in their own health care."

The incentive program is part of a national initiative funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) to modernize health care delivery and improve the quality of care through the use of EHRs and other forms of health information technology (HIT). Widespread adoption of HIT will provide the infrastructure for a higher quality system of care that is more efficient.

Since consumers usually receive health care from a variety of organizations, EHRs become more effective when they are connected to networks known as "health information exchanges" (HIEs) that can deliver health information to the point of care. For more information about HIEs in Michigan, visit the Michigan Health Information Network at www.mihin.org.

Michigan Medicaid is also involved in other ARRA demonstration projects in Michigan, such as the Beacon project in southeast Michigan, which seeks to improve care for diabetes patients through information technology; the Michigan Center for Effective IT Adoption (www.mceita.org), which provides technical assistance to primary care providers on the adoption and Meaningful Use of electronic health records; and workforce training programs to prepare workers for healthcare professions.

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