CMS Approves CNMI SMHP on January 31, 2013 PDF Print E-mail

January 31, 2013 - The U.S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), in a letter to Helen Sablan, the CNMI Medicaid Director, approved the CNMI State Medicaid HIT (Health Information Technology) Plan (SMHP).  The CNMI is the first U.S. territory or state in the Pacific Islands region to enable Eligible Provider and the Hospital to register in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.


Financial incentives for both the Medicare and Medicaid EHR programs were put in place, but hospitals in the U.S. territories only qualify for Medicaid funds.  EHR Incentives are provided for under the HITECH Act of 2009 for Eligible Providers (EPs) to implement certified Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems and to meet Meaningful Use requirements. CHCC stands to gain some monetary funds in federal incentive payments in the next year as a result of this.


The CMS EHR Incentive Program was included in the 2009 Federal Economic Stimulus Package and was established as part of the substantial reconstruction of the US healthcare system. Transforming US healthcare records from paper form to an electronic structure is a real opportunity to improve patient care and drive down costs. These incentive payments to hospitals and private providers to automate and share health information are aspects of improving patient care and reducing the cost of health care that currently consumes the largest portion of the US federal budget at 21 percent.

The SMHP contains the following components:

  • Current Environment - An assessment of the current state of health information technology (HIT) and health information exchange (HIE) in the CNMI.
  • 5-Year Vision - A description of the five-year vision for the future of HIT and HIE in the CNMI.
  • EHR Incentive Administration - A detailed plan for how the CNMI will implement the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.
  • Fraud and Abuse - A description of what policies and procedures the State will employ to ensure that the EHR incentive payments are issued properly and to prevent fraud and abuse.
  • Pathway - A graphical and narrative pathway illustrating the State's strategy for moving from the current state of HIT and HIE to the five-year vision.