On Thursday, January 21, 2010, CMS announced that Alaska, Kentucky, South Carolina and Wisconsin, would receive federal matching funds for EHR implementation under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Kentucky’s grant is $2.6 million. CMS indicated that the grant will be used to study EHR implementation activities in the state, to establish the state’s Medicaid HIT incentive program, and to evaluate provider eligibility for the Medicaid incentive funds under the HITECH Act, which was part of ARRA. CMS has now made EHR grants to 14 states: Alaska, California, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Montana, New York, South Carolina, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
Although the HITECH Act allows states to use federal matching funds to establish EHR loan programs for providers who need this avenue of support, there was no mention that the grant money would be used for that purpose. This could leave some professionals who have a low or non-existant Medicare patient base and an insufficient Medicaid patient base to qualify for the Medicaid EHR incentives (e.g., some pediatricians), without access to EHR stimulus funds under ARRA.