The EHR incentive program is designed to reward physicians who use an EHR. Those physicians also must see Medicare patients to receive the incentive payments. The criteria and restrictions on who can receive Medicare Meaningful Use EHR incentive payments is acceptable. I can look at those requirements and say, “Ok, that’s what they are trying to accomplish, and so they are going to reward those physicians”.
When I look at the Medicaid eligible professionals though, I immediately see unfair flags. How can you be eligible for the Medicare incentive payments but not even be eligible for the Medicaid incentive payments (Chiropractors). This doesn’t make sense to me. Then I see the Physician Assistant criteria that must be met in order to be eligible.
The only explanation I can come up with to explain this is lobbying. When “they” were coming up with the list of eligible professionals did someone whisper in their ear, advocating certain professionals to be on the list. Did the Chiropractors not have enough political power to influence the decision to be on the list (I don’t even know, maybe chiropractors don’t bill for Medicaid at all, which would explain why they aren’t on this list.)
What I do know, is that this list includes Nurse Practitioner and Certified Nurse-Midwife, without restriction. But in order for a PA to be eligible the PA must work in a qualified health center or rural clinic and the clinic has to be run by a PA.
Looks like the PA’s didn’t have enough political power/money to pull this one off. We aren’t as important as other fields to incentives us to use EHR.
Someone realized that PAs are dependent practitioners, we always work with a supervising physician. If the physician moved the practice to EHR, the PA would also be using the EHR, and therefor there is no extra need to pay the PA for the cost and work associated with implementing an EHR.
(What if there is a group practice of physicians and the owner decides to use EHR, do you not allow the other physicians to receive EHR incentive payments?)
Many of the EHR companies view PAs as a provider, and when you pay for the software, you pay per provider. – Cost to implement the EHR
Many times the PA becomes the office staff person responsible for handling a good portion of the EHR implementation. – Work to implement the EHR
In future legislation, I hope to see Physician Assistant’s names along with other eligible providers, without additional restrictions.