LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 7, 2011) — Kentucky is among the first states in the country to begin receiving federal dollars from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for electronic health records under the 2009 stimulus law and UK HealthCare is among the first providers.
The funding, Medicaid incentive payments, will assist with the purchase or upgrade of information technology systems for health care records. Because they were the first providers to complete the federal and state application processes, UK HealthCare, along with Central Baptist Hospital, are among the first hospitals in the country to receive checks provided through this funding.
"Electronic health records can do so much to improve efficiency, reduce medical error and, ultimately, change the face of the American health care system," said Governor Steve Beshear. "Being among the first states to receive the Medicaid incentive payments is evidence that Kentucky has established a structure to move these efforts forward and is truly leading the way in this nationwide effort. Kentucky providers are showing their commitment to becoming users of technology that not only stores records in a different way, but also makes it possible to exchange and receive records from other providers and health care facilities."
UK received $2.8 million, and Central Baptist received $1.3 million. Twenty-five additional providers have begun the application process. Over the next four years, Kentucky is expected to receive more than $100 million in incentive payments for hospitals to ensure that its health care community is working to implement electronic health record systems that can share and receive data as part of a statewide exchange of electronic health records. Incentives are also available for physicians and health care providers.
“As a flagship institution, the University of Kentucky, is committed to using advanced technology and the adoption of electronic health records to improve patient care and the universal health care system," said Dr. Carol L. Steltenkamp, Kentucky Regional Extension Center project director and UK HealthCare’s chief medical information officer. "Comprehensive health information exchange such as this has the ability to ultimately revolutionize health care."
According to CMS, Kentucky, Iowa, Louisiana and Oklahoma are the first states to receive the Medicaid incentive payments for the purchase and use of electronic health records (EHR) systems. The incentive program for hospitals is set to run through 2016, the year targeted for completion of a nationwide health information network.
"The incentive program is helping bolster the work of our providers to implement effective electronic health record systems within their facilities – and it also ensures that facilities are using systems that can connect to a statewide network," said Janie Miller, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Cabinet. "This dramatically enhances our efforts to encourage hospitals, pharmacies and medical practices to adopt systems that can communicate with one another and exchange health care information in a useful and meaningful way." State-level application systems were developed using in-house resources.