A Note from the Director on the Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is excited at the prospects and opportunities offered by the adoption of Health Information Technology and Health Information Exchange across the state. Our Agency is pleased at being an integral part of the planning and rollout of these activities to make the use of Electronic Health Records possible. In particular, the Division of Medicaid and Long -Term Care looks forward to the advantages these technologies can provide to improve both access to health care and the quality of health care services delivered to Nebraskans by all the participants involved in this effort.

As many of you know, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the State of Nebraska are encouraging the adoption of health information technology and the electronic exchange of health information between health care organizations through payment of incentives to eligible health care professionals and hospitals. Eligible professionals have the opportunity to receive up to $63,750 over six years under the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program. Eligible Hospitals are also eligible for substantial funding under this same program. Nebraska Medicaid is pleased that the acquisition of electronic health record capabilities are fostered through federally funded incentives to each participant.

We are actively planning and developing our administrative processes to ensure our eligible providers can take full advantage of this funding as quickly as possible. In that regard, Nebraska Medicaid is currently drafting the State Medicaid Health Information Technology Plan (SMHP) for CMS approval. This plan includes the development of our administrative capability to process and disburse the federal financial incentives to eligible participants. We anticipate accepting EHR Incentive Program enrollment by Fall 2011. We encourage you to subscribe to and follow our progress on our EHR web page found on the Medicaid website at: http://www.dhhs.ne.gov/med/EHR.htm. Dates and times for EHR Incentive Program education and outreach sessions will also be posted on this website.

To facilitate effective planning and execution of the EHR Incentive Program, DHHS will be conducting a survey designed to gain information about Nebraska providers’ current access to health information technology and to assess interest in program participation. Your input through this survey, which will be available through the EHR web page, is crucial to the success of the Incentive Program.

Wide River TEC is an additional resource available to assist you in understanding your choices and how electronic health records capabilities and health information exchange can benefit your practice. Please visit http://www.widerivertec.org for more information on the services available to you.

Nebraska Medicaid welcomes your inquiries and seeks your participation throughout this process. We look forward to launching the Nebraska Medicaid EHR Incentive Program and with your participation and collaboration, making a positive impact on the health care delivery in our state.

We encourage you to submit your questions or comments to the electronic mailbox at: DHHS.EHRIncentives@nebraska.gov.