Dec. 9, 2009 — Iowa to Receive Federal Matching Funds for EHR Incentive Program

Taking what the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) described as “another key step toward developing a robust U.S. health information technology [HIT] structure,” the agency announced that Iowa’s Medicaid program will be the first to receive federal matching funds for necessary planning activities to implement the electronic health record (EHR) incentive program established by ARRA. Iowa will receive approximately $1.16 million in federal matching funds.

ARRA provides a 90 percent federal match for state planning activities to administer the incentive payments to Medicaid providers, to ensure their proper payments through audits and to participate in statewide efforts to promote interoperability and meaningful use of EHR technology statewide and eventually across the nation.

“While Iowa is the first state to receive approval of its plan for implementing the Recovery Act’s EHR incentive program, a number of other states have submitted plans as well,” said Cindy Mann, director of the Center for Medicaid and State Operations at CMS. “Meaningful and interoperable use of EHRs in Medicaid will increase health care efficiency, reduce medical errors and improve quality outcomes and patient satisfaction within and across the states.”

Iowa will use its federal funds for planning activities that include conducting a comprehensive analysis to determine the current status of HIT activities in the state. As part of that process, Iowa will gather information on issues such as existing barriers to its use of EHRs, provider eligibility for EHR incentive payments and the creation of a State Medicaid HIT Plan, which will define the state’s vision for its long-term HIT use.

Iowa will also use funding for this planning phase to assess expectations of its incentive payment recipients and their need for personal health records.