View the February 20, 2009 UPDATE to this post here.
UPDATE – See the February 9, 2009 UPDATE to this post here.
The House version of the Stimulus Bill passed on January 28, 2009 and is worth some $819 Billion. The Senate will vote on its version of the bill next week, which is worth close to $900 Billion and includes an additional $3 Billion for HIT.
Funding That Will Become Available
The bill creates the “Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act” or the “HITECH Act”. You can view the approved House version of the HITECH Act here (scroll down to Page 30).
Under the HITECH Act, “eligible professionals” (which does not include “hospital-based professionals”) who are “meaningful EHR users” can receive up to $41,000 over five (5) years. (Section 4311)
“Hospital-based professionals” are not excluded from incentive payments, but their eligibility and maximum incentives will be extablished through subsequent rulemaking. (Section 4311)
“Eligible hospitals” that are “meaningful EHR users” will receive a “base amount” ($2 Million) plus a “discharge amount” (based on annual Mecidare discharges), times a “transition factor” applied over five (5) years. The transition factor starts at unity (1) for the first year, and declines to zero (0) in the fifth year. (Section 4312)
There will always be naysayers and detractors, but to me these are substantial sums, and they demonstrate the federal government’s commitment to HIT (though mixed with its commitment to economic stimulus). These monies will no doubt save many HIT jobs–not just within hospitals and clinics, but across HIT vendors and consultancies–and in the best of worlds, the dollars may be sufficient to create new HIT jobs over time.
NOTE: The figures above are based on my quick read of the House version of the HITECH Act, which has not yet been enacted. My interpretation of this version may not be accurate, and in all events, all of its provisions are subject to further revision and amendment prior to enactment.