HHS secretary pitches pilot program

Philadelphia Business Journal

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt is encouraging Philadelphia-area doctors to join together and apply for a new Medicare demonstration project that provides incentive payments for physicians’ use of certified electronic health records to improve patient care.

The project, which will be open to small and midsize primary-care physician practices, is expected to reduce medical errors and improve the quality of care for an estimated 3.6 million Americans. 

“Communities like Philadelphia have a tremendous opportunity to help transform health-care delivery starting at the local level,” said Leavitt, in Philadelphia for a meeting at Thomas Jefferson University Wednesday. “Broad adoption of interoperable electronic health records has the potential not only to improve the quality of care provided, but also to change the way medicine is practiced and delivered. By implementing this demonstration project in a dozen health markets across the country, we’ll help move this nation toward a system that delivers better quality health care at lower cost for more Americans.”

Under the five-year demonstration project, financial incentives will be provided to as many as 1,200 primary-care physician practices that use certified electronic health records to improve quality as measured by their performance on specific clinical quality measures.

In addition to the incentive payments, bonus payments may be awarded based on a standardized survey measuring the number of electronic medical record functionalities a physician practice has incorporated.

Total payments under the demonstration may be up to $58,000 per physician or $290,000 per practice.

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