Stimulus Details

Stimulus Details

The medical world is abuzz with the word that Electronic Medical Records will prove to the be the Gold Rush of the next few years and that the Obama Administration has provided over $40 billion in its Economic Stimulus Package that will reimburse physicians, hospitals and nursing homes far more than their actual costs of purchasing, installing, deploying and maintaining a certified EHR System as an incentive to get more than 90% of all physicians and other health care providers in America interfaced with a Universal EHR System within the next few years. The short answer is yes, all of that is true. Below is some background information and answers to common questions about the Government’s stimulus package reimbursements for physicians who deploy and put to meaningful use a certified EHR system.

On February 17, 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (also known as H.R. 1 or the Obama Administration Stimulus Funding Package), was signed into law by President Barak Obama. Of the $787 billion in funds allocated by this legislation, $19.2 billion is earmarked to increase the use of Electronic Health Records (EHR) by physicians and hospitals. The amount of money to be reimbursed to physicians for meaningful use of EHR systems is actually closer to $40 billion, with the additional $20 billion to come from the cost savings to the government of the electronification of the medical system. The portion of the legislation relating to EHR is called the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (or “HITECH”) Act.

When signing the Stimulus Package into law, President Obama stated that because we know that spiraling healthcare costs are crushing families and businesses alike, we’re taking the most meaningful step in years towards modernizing our healthcare system. It’s an investment that will take the long overdue step of computerizing America’s medical records, to reduce the duplication and waste that costs billions of healthcare dollars and medical errors that cost thousands of lives each year. … We have done more in 30 days to advance the cause of healthcare reform than this country has done in an entire decade.

Relevant excerpts pertaining to EHR and electronic medical records (EHR) reimbursements are set forth below.

As summarized in the White House Press Office February 17, 2009 release the HITECH provisions of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act will succeed in “Accelerating Adoption of Health IT Systems to Modernize the Health Care System, Save Billions of Dollars, Reduce Medical Errors and Improve Quality. [and] will modernize the health care system by catalyzing the adoption of health information technology by 2014. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bill reduces health costs for the federal government by over $12 billion over 10 years.”