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EHR Incentive Overview

In addition to the information presented below, also see our FAQs for more details.

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act

The HITECH Act is a part of the American Re-Investment and Recovery Act (ARRA) of 2009. (This is not to be confused with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010.) The purpose of the HITECH Act is to support the adoption and use of certified electronic health records (EHR) by providing financial incentives under the Medicare and Medicaid Programs to Eligible Professionals (EPs) and Eligible Hospitals (EHs). To qualify for an EHR Incentive Payment, an eligible provider must implement and demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology (CEHRT).

CMS has changed the name of the EHR Provider Incentive Program and the Advancing Care Information performance category of the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) to Promoting Interoperability (PI) Programs. This change moves the programs beyond the existing requirements of MU to a new phase of EHR measurement with an increased focus on interoperability and improving patient access to health information. You will continue to see both names used interchangeably, but understand that each refers to the same thing. This rebranding does not merge or combine the EHR Provider Incentive Programs and MIPS.

CMS allowed the states the option of using the new PI program title or to retain usage of the original program name. TennCare has opted to continue to refer to its program as the EHR Provider Incentive Payment Program. Remember, no matter which name you see or hear, it is still referring to the EHR Incentive Program which began in 2011.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) contracts with independent certification bodies to review and determine if the EHR systems/modules submitted by EHR vendors meet the requirements of 45 CFR § 170. The ONC maintains a web site – Certified Health IT Product List (CHPL) – of the systems/modules that have met these requirements and the assigned CMS certification number. When registering at CMS for the EHR Incentive Program, providers must enter the CMS Certification Number of their certified Electronic Health Record technology (CEHRT) system and/or modules, even though the registration site indicates that this field is optional. 

Once providers have adopted, implemented, or upgraded (AIU) to certified EHR technology, the focus of the EHR incentive program shifts to the Meaningful Use (MU) of this technology. The MU criteria, established by CMS, outline specific activities and benchmarks a provider must meet to be considered a Meaningful User.  The MU criterion advances through three progressive stages over the six-year course of the program.

Effective with Program Year 2019, providers must use the 2015 Edition CEHRT.

The TennCare EHR Provider Incentive Payment Program

The TennCare EHR Provider Incentive Payment Program (PIPP) began accepting provider registration information from CMS in January 2011. The first attestation packets (under the original system) were sent out April 1, 2011, and the first provider payments were made in June. On the EHR home page, you will find a link to a weekly updated list of the number of providers and the total amounts paid. In November 2011, the PIPP portal was opened allowing providers to submit their attestations online.

For more information, use the links found on the left side of this page. Also, when attesting, you will find a link to the “Help/User Manual” in the left column of each attestation page. This manual will answer most any question you may have about attesting. If you still have a question you can’t find an answer to, please email your question to and a member of our staff will respond to your inquiry.