CMS Offers EMR Users Sizable Bonuses

Your primary care practice could earn up to $290,000, over a five year period, if you adopt and actively use an EMR in coordination with the new Medicare Demonstration Project, which is designed to measure and showcase the quality care improvements that can result from the widespread use of interoperable EMRs/EHRs.

Since this program has generated significant interest, let’s take some time and review the basics. In today’s blog, we’ll talk about which EMR users are eligible to participate.


As CMS announced yesterday, to participate, you must practice in one of the following areas:

  • Alabama
  • Delaware
  • Jacksonville, FL (multi-county)
  • Georgia
  • Maine
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland/Washington, DC
  • Oklahoma
  • Pittsburgh, PA (multi-county)
  • South Dakota (multi-state)
  • Virginia
  • Madison, WI (multi-county)


To participate, you must be a primary care physician. For purposes of this program, CMS has defined “primary care” as being limited – with some exceptions – to family/general practice, internal medicine or geriatrics. Sorry OB/GYN and pediatric practices: For purposes of this program, CMS does not consider your providers to be offering “primary care” services.


Only small to medium sized practices may participate. If your practice employs 21 or more physicians, you are, unfortunately, out of luck.

Patient Mix

To participate, you must demonstrate that at least 50 Medicare fee for service patients (Medicare as primary) use your practice for most primary care visits. When CMS refers to primary visits, it means visits relating to “the treatment of diabetes, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, and preventive care services for patients with a range of chronic conditions.” As part of the program, you must report on 26 clinical quality measures that relate to these conditions. If you meet the basic requirements and have an interest in participating, you will have a chance to apply for participation during Fall 2008. Once the application details are released, I’ll provide an update in this blog.

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