Posts Tagged ‘Medicaid’

President Johnson Signs Medicare into Law

July 30, 2011

On this day in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signs Medicare, a health insurance program for elderly Americans, into law. At the bill-signing ceremony, which took place at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, former President Harry S. Truman was enrolled as Medicare’s first beneficiary and received the first Medicare card. Johnson wanted to recognize Truman, who, in 1945, had become the first president to propose national health insurance, an initiative that was opposed at the time by Congress.

The Medicare program, providing hospital and medical insurance for Americans age 65 or older, was signed into law as an amendment to the Social Security Act of 1935. Some 19 million people enrolled in Medicare when it went into effect in 1966. In 1972, eligibility for the program was extended to Americans under 65 with certain disabilities and people of all ages with permanent kidney disease requiring dialysis or transplant. In December 2003, President George W. Bush signed into law the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA), which added outpatient prescription drug benefits to Medicare.

Medicare is funded entirely by the federal government and paid for in part through payroll taxes. Medicare is currently a source of controversy due to the enormous strain it puts on the federal budget. Throughout its history, the program also has been plagued by fraud–committed by patients, doctors and hospitals–that has cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

Medicaid, a state and federally funded program that offers health coverage to certain low-income people, was also signed into law by President Johnson on July 30, 1965, as an amendment to the Social Security Act.

In 1977, the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) was created to administer Medicare and work with state governments to administer Medicaid. HCFA, which was later renamed the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), is part of the Department of Health and Human Services and is headquartered in Baltimore.



CMS Paid out the First Payments for the EHR Incentive Program. Are you registered?

July 18, 2011

Since the EHR incentive program opened in January of 2011, more than $158 million has been paid for both the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs.  In total, the Federal government has paid:

  • $75 million for the Medicare EHR incentive program
  • $83.3 million for the Medicaid EHR incentive program

The following are notable differences between the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs:



Federal Government will implement (will be an option nationally) Voluntary for States to implement (may not be an option in every State)
Payment reductions begin in 2015 for providers that do not demonstrate Meaningful Use No Medicaid payment reductions
Must demonstrate Meaningful Use Year 1 Adopt, implement and upgrade option for 1st participation year
Maximum incentive is $44,000 for Eligible Professionals (10% bonus for Eligible Professional in Health Professional Shortage Area) Maximum incentive is $63,750 for Eligible Professionals
Meaningful Use definition is standard for Medicare States can adopt certain additional requirements for Meaningful Use
Last year a provider may initiate program is 2014; Last year to register is 2016; Payment adjustments begin in 2015 Last year a provider may initiate program is 2016; Last year to register is 2016
Eligible Professionals include:

  • Doctor of medicine or osteopathy
  • Doctor of dental surgery or dental medicine
  • Doctor of podiatry
  • Doctor of optometry
  • Chiropractor

…and subsection (d) hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs).

Eligible Professionals include:

  • Physicians (primarily doctors of medicine and doctors of osteopathy)
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Certified nurse-midwife
  • Dentist
  • Physician assistant who furnishes services in a Federally Qualified Health Center or Rural Health Clinic that is led by a physician assistant.

…and acute care hospitals (including CAHs) and children’s hospitals.

In order to receive the Medicare or MediCaid EHR incentive payments, follow the steps below:

  1. Successfully register for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program;
  1. Meet meaningful use criteria using certified EHR technology (Check to see if your software is certified  under the EHR incentive program at:; and
  2. Successfully attest, using CMS’ Web-based system, that you have met meaningful use criteria using certified EHR technology.

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