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Letters to the Editor Extracting meaning

from meaningful use Dear Editor,

I read Mr. Turner’s recent article in Health Technology Magazine entitled “Use HITECH as directed” (HMT, Oct. 2011, pg. 24).

I would suggest a clarifi cation of the requirements for receiving reimbursement from Medicare or Medicaid. Specifi cally: 1. The payment from Medicare throughout the fi ve years is based on Medicare receipts not Medicare charges. 2. Each of the fi ve years, the payment is a calculation based on Medicare receipts. For the fi rst year, the maximum payment a physician may receive is an amount equal to 75 percent of $24,000 in Medicare receipts. If a provider only collects $10,000 in Medicare receipts, the incentive payment is 75 percent of that, $7,500. 3. In order to qualify for a Medicare incentive payment, there are very stringent meaningful-use criteria that must be applied to all patients. So, even though the payment is based on Medicare receipts, the data collected and used for meaningful-use standards applies to all patients, not just Medicare recipients. For example, one of the standards is that there must be a “problem list” for at least 80 percent of the patients treated during the data-collection period. 4. A physician must have at least $24,000 in Medicare receipts; I know many physicians who bought EHR-certifi ed systems only to realize that they don’t collect enough from Medicare to qualify for much incentive money. In our prac- tice, there are two child psychiatrists who do treat Medicare recipients when on call for other members of the practice, but certainly do not have many other Medicare recipient patients. 5. In order to qualify for incentive funds from Medicaid, physicians must have at least 30 percent of their patients covered by Medicaid. Pediatricians are only required to have 20 percent of their patients covered by Medicaid but the incentive is reduced by one-third, as well. As far as I can tell, pediatric specialists do not fall into the latter category for the 20 percent Medicaid population allowance. Our group is learning these lessons the hard way. I am an administrator for a group of nine psychiatrists, two psycholo- gists, four therapists and one nurse practitioner. We certainly knew that the non-physicians would not qualify, but it was not easy to learn exactly how the incentive plan works.

Sincerely, Ann M. Rawls Chief Operating Offi cer Tucker Psychiatric Clinic, Inc. HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY December 2011 5

Pryor observations Dear Editor,

(RE: Viewpoint column about recent fi ndings that multiple sclerosis could be caused by neck trauma; HMT, Nov. 2011, pg. 2)

I was also too young to listen to Richard Pryor albums in my formative years, but I devoured them whenever I could sneak away with like-minded friends in basement rec rooms across the suburban sprawl of Kansas City. I enjoyed your column.

Best regards, Laura Fleek Brumley SAS External Communications

Dear Editor, I really enjoyed your article on MS (HMT, Nov. 2011,

Viewpoint, pg. 2). The fi ndings make a great deal of sense. I had an aunt that ended up in a wheelchair and eventually died from complications of MS. I can remember them telling me as a young child that she was in a horrible car accident in her earlier years.

She has been gone for 25 years and it makes me wonder if she would still be here if these fi ndings were published back then.

Thanks for the information, Jennifer Liette

Offi ce Coordinator II Plant Operations/UVMC

Health Management Technology magazine welcomes letters to the editor

Send your comments to Managing Editor Phil Colpas at


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