Late last week the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a new Frequently Asked Question that is important for anyone who has successfully attested for the Medicate EHR Incentive program and is wondering why they haven’t received the expected incentive payment.
The short answer is that “Medicare EHR incentive payments to EPs are based on 75% of the estimated allowed charges for covered professional services furnished by the EP during the entire payment year.” So, if you haven’t hit the $24,000 threshold that would maximize the amount of the EHR incentive payment at the time of attestation the CMS will hold the payment until that threshold has been met.
The actual question and long version of the answer from the FAQ is below.
Answer : For EPs, incentive payments for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program will be made approximately four to eight weeks after an EP successfully attests that they have demonstrated meaningful use of certified EHR technology. However, EPs will not receive incentive payments within that timeframe if they have not yet met the threshold for allowed charges for covered professional services furnished by the EP during the year.
The Medicare EHR incentive payments to EPs are based on 75% of the estimated allowed charges for covered professional services furnished by the EP during the entire payment year. Therefore, to receive the maximum incentive payment of $18,000 for the first year of participation in 2011 or 2012, the EP must accumulate $24,000 in allowed charges. If the EP has not met the $24,000 threshold in allowed charges at the time of attestation, CMS will hold the incentive payment until l the EP meets the $24,000 threshold in order to maximize the amount of the EHR incentive payment the EP receives. If the EP still has not met the $24,000 threshold in allowed charges by the end of calendar year, CMS expects to issue an incentive payment for the EP in March 2012 (allowing 60 days after the end of the 2011 calendar year for all pending claims to be processed).
Payments to Medicare EPs will be made to the taxpayer identification number (TIN) selected at the time of registration, through the same channels their claims payments are made. The form of payment (electronic funds transfer or check) will be the same as claims payments.
Bonus payments for EPs who practice predominantly in a geographic Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) will be made as separate lump-sum payments no later than 120 days after the end of the calendar year for which the EP was eligible for the bonus payment.
For more information about the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, please visit http://www.cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms.