• CMS Submits Letter to the States’ Medicaid Directors Providing Guidance on Federal Funding for HITECH Act Medicaid EHR Incentives and Related State Administration Expenses
  • August 31, 2010 | Authors: Christopher P. Kenny; Joseph E. Lynch; April Renee Robinson
  • Law Firms: King & Spalding LLP - Washington Office ; King & Spalding LLP - Houston Office
  • On August 17, 2010, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) submitted a letter to the States’ Medicaid Directors providing guidance on CMS’s  expectations regarding the distribution of federal matching funds (FFP) for each State’s administrative expenses and EHR incentives to qualifying eligible providers pursuant to the State’s Medicaid EHR incentives program established under the HITECH Act.  Under the Act, each State is entitled to:  (a) 100% FFP for EHR incentive payments provided to the State’s eligible Medicaid providers qualifying for such incentives; and (b) 90% FFP for the State’s expenses related to its administration of these EHR incentives.

    To assist States in the timely implementation of their Medicaid EHR incentives programs, CMS’s letter includes four attachments detailing CMS’s expectations concerning the funding and operation of these State programs.  Enclosures A and D set forth CMS’s expectations regarding the submission and approval by CMS of each State’s Medicaid HIT Plan (which is a prerequisite to a State’s receipt of FFP under the HITECH Act).  Enclosure A also discusses FFP payment procedures, and provides examples of State EHR incentive program administrative expenses potentially eligible for FFP.  Enclosures B and C provide guidance on CMS’s initial oversight expectations regarding the States’ Medicaid EHR incentive programs, and principles governing the States’ receipt of their respective 90% FFP for Medicaid EHR incentive program expenditures.  

    In addition to providing detailed information regarding CMS’s expectations concerning the funding and operation of the States’ Medicaid EHR incentive programs, CMS’s letter mentions a website that the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) plans to create which will allow eligible providers to confirm whether their EHR technology has been certified under the HITECH Act.  Significantly, CMS’s letter states that this website will permit an eligible provider to confirm if the collection of EHR Modules used by the provider has been certified as furnishing all the capabilities and functionality necessary for the provider to qualify for HITECH Act EHR incentives.  A website providing this information would relieve an eligible provider of the burden of making the sole determination as to whether the provider’s EHR Modules collectively constitute a “Complete EHR” which will be permit the provider to satisfy the Meaningful Use measures necessary to qualify for HITECH Act EHR incentives.