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Andrea Santiago

Health IT, EMR Receive $20 Billion in Funding from Stimulus Package

By February 22, 2009

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If you work in medical practice management, healthcare IT, or as a physician, Obama has $20 billion for you and your colleagues in his stimulus package known as the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 (ARRA).

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) released a statement this week urging its member physicians to start working towards implementation of electronic medical records, if they haven’t already incorporated them into their practice.

$17 billion of the total Health IT funding consists of incentives for complying physicians who have implemented EMR into their practices by 2015. According to the ACC, the incentives will be paid to physicians in the form of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, in addition to grant programs. Physicians can begin earning incentives in 2011 by demonstrating “meaningful use” of EMR. Physicians can earn from $2,000 to $18,000 in a given year. The sooner the medical practice qualifies for the incentive, the more money the practice will earn in incentives.

On the flip side, medical practices who have not implemented EMR by 2015 will be penalized with up to 3% decreases in Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements.

For more information, visit the ACC's Health IT Toolkit, or your applicable professional association per your medical specialty.

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February 24, 2009 at 11:12 am
(1) Peter Beck says:

One thing’s for sure: we’ve got to get the word out to providers in detail, pronto.

This may be just the carrot needed to improve the abysmal national EMR adoption rate. There were early adopters, who took up EMR and practice management systems in the days before subsidies, but more widespread adoption always gets a kick in the pants with monetary incentives.

That’s part human nature, part plain costly reality, especially for small practices (e.g. 70-80% of the doctors out there).

But it’s also a reality that too many physicians aren’t tech literate. That’s got to change, and hopefully educational efforts (like this one on the NextGen vendor site, http://www.nextgen.com/stimulus) will help walk doctors through the process.

God forbid the steps to qualify for subsidies be as labyrinthine as the Medicare guidelines for patients…if they are, vendors will definitely have a prime niche in being translators and intermediaries.

May 22, 2009 at 1:40 am
(2) Jay Andrews says:

Despite efforts in digitalization and standardization, EMRs are actually far from being standardized and not as efficient as it is purported to be. It often happens that one clinic’s EMR system is not compatible with that of a general practitioner or another clinic’s system, thus belying the claim of added efficiency. In addition, not all users of EMRs are satisfied with the current state of the art. Although the objective is mainly efficiency and healthcare quality, one study showed that nurses in the Netherlands are not completely satisfied with their EMR implemented in 2006-2007.

May 27, 2009 at 2:11 pm
(3) Andy Stones says:

I agree with Jay. The EMR system are not compatible with each other. The EMR system where ever implemented are not really praised by any medical facility.

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