In the ensuing months, a large number of physicians will receive payments for successfully attesting to meaningful use in 2012. After jumping through hoops to meet all the government requirements for the program, practices are rewarded with as much leeway as they want to use the funds however they feel is best.
Most practices are using meaningful use funds to pay for their electronic health records (EHR) system, to invest in new technology, or to help pay for any other IT costs. This is certainly how the government intended this money to be used for. However, some practices have distributed the incentive money in more creative ways to help boost the profitability of their practice.
For example, a clinic in Phoenix used part of their incentive check to invest in a wellness program, which included hiring a tai chi teacher and paying for a community room to hold the classes in. Other clinics have put the money directly into physician compensation to reward physicians for their hard work.
The possibilities are virtually limitless. Practices all across the country are putting their incentive money to good use in a variety of ways.
While there is no government official dictating how practices distribute their hard-earned money, though, it is recommended that practices decide early on, in writing, what the incentive checks will be used for. This helps ensure that all physicians are working toward the same goal and prevents misunderstandings regarding where or to whom the money will go.
What do you plan to do with your meaningful use payment?