In a June 10 HHS News Release, Secretary Mike Leavitt named the 12 communities that will participate in a 5-year national Medicare demonstration project that provides incentive payments to physicians for using certified electronic health records (EHR) to improve the quality of patient care (the "EHR Demo Project"). The communities selected to work with the CMS on the EHR Demo Project are:
- Jacksonville, FL (multi-county)
- Maryland/Washington, DC
- Pittsburgh, PA (multi-county)
- South Dakota (multi-state)
- Madison, WI (multi-county)
Over the five-year span of the project, total financial incentives and bonus payments provided to participating physician practices may be up to $58,000 per physician or $290,000 per practice. Secretary Leavitt states:
"The use of electronic health records, and of health information technology as a whole, has the ability to transform the way health care is delivered in our nation [and] we believe that EHRs can help physicians deliver better, more efficient care for their patients, in part by reducing medical errors. This project is designed to demonstrate these benefits and help increase the use of this technology in practices where adoption has been the slowest at the individual physician and small practice level."
Although in some respects it is disappointing that New Jersey was not among the communities selected to be a part of the EHR Demo Project, perhaps it is an indication that physicians in this state are ahead of the curve with EHR adoption. If this is indeed the case, New Jersey may already be well on its way to improving patient care and reducing health care delivery costs through the use of technology ….. making it a "winner" too.