CMS Issues HITECH IT Guidance to State Medicaid Directors

On August 17, 2010, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a 4-page letter plus attachments to State Medicaid Directors giving guidance on the implementation of Medicaid EHR incentive programs under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) and the recently published CMS Final Rule under HITECH.  HITECH mandates that the Federal government provide 100% funding to States for the incentives available to eligible professional and hospitals who participate in HITECH’s Medicaid incentive program, and 90% funding to States for the administration of such Medicaid incentives.  States, however, must qualify for the 90% administrative Federal funding participation (FFP) by:

  1. Administering the Medicaid incentive payments to eligible professionals and hospitals;
  2. Overseeing the Medicaid incentive program, including tracking “meaningful use” attestations and reporting mechanisms; and
  3. Pursuing initiatives that encourage the adoption of certified EHR technology for the promotion of health care quality and the electronic exchange of health information.

Importantly, States must use the HIT Implementation Advance Planning Document (IAPD) in order to request the FFP and must receive approval before implementing proposed activities and services or acquiring equipment. CMS points out that some activities may be more appropriately reimbursed through the existing Medicaid Management Information Systems and that other administrative expenditures may not be eligible for any Federal funding.  States must have a State Medicaid Health Information Technology Plan (SMHP) outlining the State’s current and future HIT landscape and plans for implementation of the Medicaid EHR incentives.  CMS made available a SMHP template for States to outline their Medicaid EHR incentive implementation plans and timeline, referenced here.

The guidance documents CMS included with its letter are: A)  Administering the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program; B) Oversight of the Medicaid Incentive Program; C) Guiding Principles for the Use of the 90% FFP for EHR Promotion; and D) SMHP/IAPD Review Process.   For additional CMS information for states, click here.

Iowa is first state to receive HITECH stimulus funds

As first reported by the American Bar Association’s Focus on E-Health and Privacy section, CMS announced on November 23, 2009, that Iowa’s Medicaid program is the first state to receive federal matching funds for planning activities necessary to implement the electronic health records (EHR) incentive program established by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) under the ARRA of 2009.  Iowa will receive approximately $1.16 million in federal matching funds.  CMS Director, Cindy Mann, noted that although Iowa is the first to receive the federal matching funds, a number of other states have submitted EHR incentive program implementation plans as well.  

To read more about HITECH state stimulus funding, see the article posted to this blog on September 10, 2009, here.

Kentucky Governor establishes Office of Electronic Health Information

On August 14, 2009, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear signed an Executive Order creating Kentucky’s Office of Electronic Health Information. This new Office will be the conduit for development of health information exchanges and the stimulus grants available to states under the HITECH Act.  The Secretary of Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services is vested with authority to appoint the Executive Director for the Office. 

The press release announcing the creation of the office states that the Kentucky E-Health Network Board, which is administratively attached to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, will also serve as an integral resource to the Office as it moves forward.  CHFS Secretary Janie Miller said, “The Governor’s action will allow the Commonwealth to be in a position to apply for federal stimulus funds for planning and implementation of health information exchange to support infrastructure and build resource capacity, particularly for underserved communities.”  The Executive Order’s effective date is August 16, 2009.