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EHR Adoption Encouraged by State Meaningful Use Acceleration Challenge 2.0

John Rancourt and Fadesola Adetosoye | April 3, 2013

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is officially launching the State Meaningful Use Acceleration Challenge 2.0!

This year’s challenge builds off the success of the 2012 State Meaningful Use Challenge, which pitted every state and territory against one another to see which would best accelerate the Meaningful Use incentive program through providers’ electronic health record (EHR) adoption.

Challenge 2.0 increases the number of performance measures by which ONC will judge state progress. As states continue their momentum in driving Meaningful Use, our Challenge 2.0 intends to encourage states to continue collaborating with their stakeholders and working strategically to leverage Meaningful Use criteria in support of quality improvement efforts, such Medicare’s Shared Savings Program and Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative.

ONC is Challenging States to Set Aggressive Goals on EHR Adoption and Meeting Meaningful Use Criteria

The Department of Health and Human Services recently publicly announced the following goals:

  • 50% of physician offices using EHRs across the nation, and
  • 80% of eligible hospitals receiving Meaningful Use incentive payments by the end of 2013.

As part of Challenge 2.0, we encourage states to set their own goals and to use the challenge as an opportunity to convene stakeholders and expand their partnerships as they launch their efforts to achieve state and national goals in EHR adoption and meeting Meaningful Use criteria.

While these goals are established to help encourage providers to adopt EHRs and health IT, the true beneficiaries are the patients all across the country who will be better able to work with their providers to manage their health care.

Challenge 2.0 Performance Measures

The performance measures for Challenge 2.0 are designed to motivate all states to participate to help continue to improve care for all their patients. This year’s Challenge will include performance measures that look at cumulative figures for the number and share of eligible providers, eligible hospitals, and rural providers receiving incentives for meeting Meaningful Use criteria. This will allow those states that have already made great strides in EHR adoption to continue to compete with one another. These measures include:

  • Cumulative number of eligible professionals paid by Medicare or Medicaid,
  • Cumulative number of eligible hospitals paid by Medicare or Medicaid, and
  • Cumulative number of rural providers and hospitals that receive payments by Medicare or Medicaid.

Challenge 2.0 will also evaluate the number of new providers and hospitals paid through the end of 2013. This will allow us to recognize those states that see huge growth in EHR adoption and meeting Meaningful Use criteria this year. These measures include:

  • Number of new eligible professionals receiving Medicare or Medicaid payments in 2013,
  • Number of new eligible hospitals receiving payments in 2013, and
  • Number of new eligible professionals in rural areas who received payments in 2013.

Stay Tuned to the ONC Dashboard for Updates

Like the 2012 challenge, Challenge 2.0 will continue to monitor each state’s progress in EHR adoption and meeting Meaningful Use criteria. Ongoing updates will be posted on the ONC Dashboard. ONC will be reaching out to states individually to find ways to support these synergistic goals. State HIE Project Officers and REC Project Officers will share tools on HealthIT.gov along with the entire set of 16 Challenge 2.0 performance measures.

Building on the Success of 2012 – Now More Than 210,000 Have Adopted EHRs

Last year, ONC, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and our partners in the states stepped on gas pedal of Meaningful Use Acceleration—our catch-all phrase for all efforts related to bringing down costs and improving health care quality through EHR adoption and meeting Meaningful Use criteria.

In 2012, ONC and CMS set an ambitious goal of having 100,000 health care providers receive incentives under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs by the end of 2012. At the same time, several states lined up at the starting line for the 2012 State Meaningful Use Challenge, with Ohio, Washington, California, and New York setting goals early.

Together we flew by the 100,000 goal in June, and as of January 2013, more than 210,000 health care providers have either adopted/implemented/upgraded their EHRs or met Meaningful Use criteria under the programs. This success was only possible because our state partners really floored it, with MaineExternal Links Disclaimer, OhioExternal Links Disclaimer, and KentuckyExternal Links Disclaimer being recognized for their outstanding efforts in 2012.

More to Come on Meaningful Use Acceleration

Watch for future Buzz Blog posts and continue to monitor ONC’s Dashboard where you will find updates throughout the year on Challenge 2.0. These updates will show our progress toward our shared goals of achieving Meaningful Use and improving care for patients.

Project Officers with our State HIE Program, Regional Extension Center (REC) Program, and Beacon Communities Program will be reaching out to ONC grantees to share additional details about Challenge 2.0 shortly. For more information, contact your state Health IT CoordinatorExternal Links Disclaimer, your local REC, or your ONC Project Officer.