Home > EHR, meaningful use, Medicare, research > GAO Releases Report on MU Payments

GAO Releases Report on MU Payments

On October 24, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report exploring Medicare EHR Incentive Program (“meaningful use” or MU) participation in 2011 and 2012.  Some highlights:

  • 183, 712 or 31% of all eligible professionals (EPs) received Medicare EHR Incentive Program payments in 2012
  • Over 56% of those EPs who received incentives were “specialty practice physicians”
  • “General practice physicians” were 1.5 times more likely to have received an incentive payment than specialists
  • 12% of radiologist EPs received an incentive payment in 2012

While only a few specialties were covered individually, the report was striking for how many specialties are surpassing radiology in terms of MU participation. For example, 31.7% of ophthalmologist EPs received MU incentive payments in 2012. Only two specialties specifically called out in GAO’s report had lower levels of participation—psychiatry and dentistry—but we know from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Office of the National Coordinator for HIT (ONC) public data that several other major specialties, including pathology and anesthesiology, were also lower than radiology in 2012.

Clearly, the data shows that CMS and ONC have a long way to go to meet the 75% EP participation goal by 2018.

…In other GAO health IT news, the agency also released its list of new appointments to ONC’s HIT Policy Committee.  A big part of the problem highlighted in the aforementioned participation report is a lack of specialty representation on the federal advisory committees that provide MU-related recommendations to ONC and, indirectly, CMS.

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