Example of EMR Stimulus Medicare Penalties

Posted on October 12, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Let’s take a look at how much the EMR stimulus Medicare penalties will amount to for those doctors who choose not to show “meaningful use” of a “certified EHR.”

At AAFP I learned that the average physician practice has revenues of about $500,000. Certainly there are many with more and some with less, but you can substitute your number into the calculation. I also learned that the average AAFP user does about 20% Medicare. Of course, each practice can pull up their own figures.

Using these averages, that means that the average practice does about $100,000 in Medicare reimbursement.

The penalties for now showing meaningful use of a certified EHR are:
2015 – 1%
2016 – 2%
2017 – 3%
2018 – 4% (HHS Secretary Option)
2019 – 5% (HHS Secretary Option)
or…using the Medicare numbers above that calculates out to:
2015 – $1000
2016 – $2000
2017 – $3000
2018 – $4000
2019 – $5000

Of course, this doesn’t take into account that many think the penalties will be delayed and may never go into effect. However, is $1000-$5000 of penalties worth the effort to show meaningful use? Although, when you add the Medicare penalties above, no matter the amount, on top of the other Medicare cuts and you can understand the outrage when it comes to Medicare.

This is certainly only one part of the EHR decision making process. However, it does illustrate well why the EMR stimulus penalties aren’t motivating providers to implement EHR software.