Just before Congress left for recess this week, Congressman Frank Kratovil (MD-1) introduced legislation in the House of Representatives that will streamline the way health centers access and receive Medicaid Health Information Technology (HIT) incentive payments established in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA). H.R. 6348 will allow health centers to better coordinate and deliver care and help health care delivery in every state. Without the change set out in this bill, each health center and eligible health center provider may need to revise their contracts between health centers and health center providers in order to ensure they can access nearly $1 billion in federal support for the adoption and use of electronic medical records.
A Recap on the Medicaid HIT Incentive Payments
In ARRA, Congress established incentive payments in Medicaid and Medicare to increase providers’ use of HIT and to ease the cost burden associated with acquiring and maintaining an electronic medical record system. The current law requires that State Medicaid Agencies make these payments directly to providers who are eligible to receive them, unless the provider submits a request to the state to reassign their payment amount to another entity. For health centers, this would mean that although the health center organization makes the upfront investment and maintains the costly HIT system for health center providers to use, State Medicaid Agencies would make the incentive payments to health center providers directly. Reassignment of these payments to the health center organization will be an administratively burdensome process and may require that each health center revise their contract with every eligible provider they work with.
H.R. 6348 would remove the requirement that health center providers reassign their incentive payments to their health center and would allow State Medicaid Agencies to work directly with the health centers. This legislative effort, championed by Rep. Kratovil, will promote health centers’ adoption and use of HIT and help to improve patient care across health centers and among providers as in order to improve health centers’ care coordination.
While Members of Congress are home during the recess, be sure to tak to them about the importance of these Medicaid HIT incentive payments and HR 6348. Stay tuned for more information and action alerts in the coming weeks!