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- As part of a five-year project, Health and Human Services
Secretary Mike Leavitt today named 12 areas, including Madison, that will take part in a national Medicare demonstration project to evaluate whether electronic medical records really do improve the quality of healthcare.
As part of the project, the federal government will provide incentive payments to physicians for using certified electronic medical records.
Leavitt, who visited Madison in January, said the first-of-its-kind project is designed to help increase the adoption of the technology at the individual physician and small-practice levels. While hospitals have been deploying EMRs in growing numbers, individual doctors and small practices have been handcuffed by the cost of the technology and its implementation.
During the course of the demonstration project, financial incentives will be provided to as many as 1,200 primary care physician practices that use certified EMRs in the selected communities. Bonus payments also could be awarded based on the EMR functionalities incorporated into physician practices, with total payments reaching up to $58,000 per physician or $290,000 per practice.
The federal demonstration project will be implemented in two phases, with Phase I sites beginning in 2008 and Phase II sites starting in 2009. Madison is a Phase II site, according to HHS.
In addition to Madison, which will have a multi-county project, the areas selected to work with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
on the EMR demonstration project include: Alabama, Delaware, Jacksonville, Fla. (multi-county), Georgia, Maine, Louisiana, Maryland/Washington, D.C., Oklahoma, Pittsburgh (multi-county), South Dakota (multi-state), and Virginia.
The 12 areas were selected as part of a competitive process that attracted more than 30 applicants and emphasized factors such as existing collaboration among stakeholders and planned private sector initiatives related to health information technology and quality reporting.
Greater Madison hospitals, clinics, and health plans are using their implementations of Epic Systems'
EMR as part of a technology interoperability project that eventually will allow them share patient data.
In addition, organizations like the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality
have established quality reporting measures for state hospitals.Related story
Secretary Leavitt announces federal funding, local groups may promote EMRs