Department of Medical Assistance Services
ARRA INCENTIVES
BACKGROUND

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) enacted on February 17, 2009 is intended to stimulate the economy. Among other provisions, the new law provides major opportunities for the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), its partner agencies, and the States to improve the nation’s health care through health information technology (HIT). To promote the meaningful use of electronic health records (EHR), incentives are available for eligible entities. For a copy of the full bill, go to:

http://www.hhs.gov/recovery/overview/index.html

The HIT provisions of the Recovery Act are found primarily in Title XIII, Division A, Health Information Technology, and in Title IV of Division B, Medicare and Medicaid Health Information Technology. These titles together are cited as the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act or the HITECH Act. Under Title IV, funding is available to certain eligible professionals (EPs) and hospitals, as described below. Funds will be distributed through Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments to EPs, physicians, and hospitals that are "meaningful EHR users."

ARRA also provides for Regional Extension Centers (RECs) to provide outreach, education, and technical assistance to assist providers in adopting, upgrading, and implementing Electronic Health Records (EHR) and/or attaining or exceeding meaningful use of certified EHR. RECs will provide on-site technical assistance.

PROPOSED PROCESS

The process as conceived by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), will begin when a provider registers with the CMS Registration and Attestation System and elects consideration for incentives for a given state and program (Medicaid/Medicare). Then, in the case of a Virginia Medicaid selection, DMAS will be notified by the the CMS Registration and Attestation System and will then contact the provider to begin the eligibility process. DMAS projects it will begin reviewing applications in the first half of 2012.

As part of DMAS' administration of the incentive program, CMS requires the State to submit for approval a State Medicaid Health Information Technology Plan (SMHP). This plan describes how DMAS expects to encourage, administer, and monitor incentive payments to eligible professionals and hospitals. Virginia's SMHP was conditionally approved on March 7, 2011 (follow link below). Please note that this plan will be revised as Virginia nears launching its EHR Incentive Program.

SMHP (Conditionally Approved)
ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

For an overview of eligibility criteria for the incentives, please follow the link below:

Eligibility Overview
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Visit the Official CMS Web Site for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs at:

http://cms.gov/EHrIncentivePrograms/

The above website is updated frequently and contains links to fact sheets, FAQs, and the Final Meaningful Use Rule.

To view ONC Health Information Technology: Initial Set of Standards, Implementation Specifications, and Certification Criteria for Electronic Health Record Technology; Interim Final Rule, please visit:

http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/E9-31216.pdf

To visit the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of HIT please follow this link:

https://www.connectvirginia.org/

Contact information for the Regional Extension Center is as follows: Phone: 1-800-207-7928

Website - http://www.vhqc.org/custom-hit.asp
Email - extensioncenter@vhqc.org

Please direct questions about ARRA Medicaid incentives in Virginia to:

ARRA-Medicaid-Incentives@dmas.virginia.gov