Iowa Medicaid Program is First to Receive EHR Incentive Grant

Les Masterson, for HealthLeaders Media , November 23, 2009

Iowa's Medicaid program will be the first to receive federal matching funds for "planning activities necessary to implement" the electronic health record incentive program, which is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, according to CMS.

CMS called the awarding of $1.16 million in federal matching grants "another key step toward developing a robust" health information technology infrastructure.

"While Iowa is the first state to receive approval of its plan for implementing the Recovery Act's EHR incentive program, a number of other states have submitted plans as well," said Cindy Mann, director of the Center for Medicaid and State Operations at CMS. "Meaningful and interoperable use of EHRs in Medicaid will increase healthcare efficiency, reduce medical errors, and improve quality outcomes and patient satisfaction within and across the states."

Iowa will use the federal funds for planning activities, such as conducting a "comprehensive analysis to determine the current status of HIT activities in the state." The state will explore existing barriers to EHR use and provider eligibility for incentive payments, create a state Medicaid HIT plan, and gauge the need for consumer-managed personal health records, according to CMS.

The Recovery Act, which is also known as the stimulus package, provides a 90% federal match for "state planning activities to administer the incentive payments to Medicaid programs, ensure their proper payments through audits, and participate in statewide efforts to promote interoperability and meaningful use of EHR technology statewide, and eventually, across the nation," according to CMS.

Les Masterson is an editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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