Urge Your Members of Congress to Support the Medicaid Health Information Technology Incentive Payment Fix for Health Centers

While your Congressional members are home in district during recess now through the election, please talk to them about the importance of HR 6348.  Congressman Frank Kratovil (MD-1) introduced this bill in the House just before Congress left for recess, which will streamline the way Health Centers access and receive Medicaid Health Information Technology (HIT) incentive payments established in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

ARRA established incentive payments in Medicaid and Medicare to increase providers’ use of HIT to ease the cost burden associated with acquiring and maintaining an electronic medical record system.  Under the current law, State Medicaid Agencies may make incentive payments directly to providers who are eligible to receive them, unless the provider submits a request to the state to reassign their payment amount to another entity, such as a Community Health Center.  Reassigning these payments to Health Centers may require that each Health Center revise their contract with every eligible provider they work with — an administratively burdensome process.

HR 6348 would allow State Medicaid Agencies to make Medicaid incentive payments directly to Health Centers that adopt HIT, rather than to individual practitioners.

To garner support of the Health Centers’ HIT fix in the Senate, Michigan’s Senator Debbie Stabenow and Senator Olympia Snow from Maine are circulating a bipartisan-led Dear Colleague Letter that Senators can sign on during the recess.  The letter urges Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, to include Health Centers’ HIT fix in any legislation being considered this fall.  Senators Stabenow and Snowe will deliver the letter to Senators Baucus and Grassley when Congress reconvenes from recess.

Here is what you can do to help build broad support for HR 6438 and the Health Centers’ HIT fix:

  • Let your U.S. Representative know that HR 6438 is important to your Health Center’s adoption of health information technology and ask him/her to co-sponsor the bill
  • Urge your U.S. Senators to co-sign the Stabenow-Snowe Dear Colleague letter on Medicaid HIT incentive payments that is currently circulating through the Senate

Thank you to the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) for their work in building support for this issue.  Tune into NACHC’s blog for up-to-date information.

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