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Alaska to Receive Federal Matching Funds for Electronic Health Record Incentives Program

In another key step to further states' role in developing a robust U.S. health information technology (HIT) infrastructure, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today that Alaska's Medicaid program will receive federal matching funds for state planning activities necessary to implement the electronic health record (EHR) incentive program established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act).  Alaska will receive approximately $900,000 in federal matching funds.

EHRs will improve the quality of health care for the citizens of Alaska and make their care more efficient.  The records make it easier for the many providers who may be treating a Medicaid patient to coordinate care.  Additionally, EHRs make it easier for patients to access the information they need to make decisions about their health care.

The Recovery Act  provides a 90 percent federal match for state planning activities to administer the incentive payments to Medicaid providers, to ensure their proper payments through audits and to participate in statewide efforts to promote interoperability and meaningful use of EHR technology statewide and, eventually, across the nation.

"We congratulate Alaska for qualifying for these federal matching funds to assist its plan for implementing the Recovery Act's EHR incentive program," said Cindy Mann, director of the Center for Medicaid and State Operations at CMS. "Meaningful and interoperable use of EHRs in Medicaid will increase health care efficiency, reduce medical errors and improve quality-outcomes and patient satisfaction within and across the states."

Alaska will use its federal matching funds for planning activities that include conducting a comprehensive analysis to determine the current status of HIT activities in the state.  As part of that process, Alaska will gather information on issues such as existing barriers to its use of EHRs, provider eligibility for EHR incentive payments, and the creation of a State Medicaid HIT Plan (SMHP), which will define the state's vision for its long-term HIT use.

Additional information on implementation of the Medicaid-related provisions of the Recovery Act's EHR incentive payment program may be found at: http://www.cms.hhs.gov/Recovery/11_HealthIT.asp#TopOfPage


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