Health Care Reform Advisory: Meaningful Use = Meaningless Dollars?


The recession has impacted the pockets of Americans and state governments alike. The record-setting unemployment rates that sent shockwaves around the country also caused a record-setting influx of enrollees into state Medicaid programs. Already facing huge budget shortfalls due to declining revenues, states have been forced to deal with the high demand for public programs. To that end, states are looking for mechanisms that will control Medicaid spending, yet improve medical quality and efficiency. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided some much needed Medicaid fiscal assistance, including approximately $19 billion for payments and incentives to providers under public programs to adopt and implement health information technology. Its provisions require providers to demonstrate “meaningful use” of this technology, but the benefits may in fact be equally meaningful for states and providers. This summary is focused on the Medicaid payments for which providers may be eligible; however, such providers have a choice of payments either through Medicaid or through Medicare (or both, for hospitals).

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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