The HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health) Act provides financial incentives to physicians and other healthcare stakeholders to adopt Electronic Health Records. It presents an unparalleled opportunity for the healthcare industry to modernize itself for greater efficiency, quality and cost containment.
A core requirement of the Act is to demonstrate "Meaningful Use". This means that understanding the criteria and process is critical, as is selecting the right technology partner.
By 2015, all medical practices will be required to have EMR / EHR system in place. Penalties in Medicare reimbursements will be assessed for those not compliant by 2015. Penalties would only apply to practices taking Medicare.
Stimulus monies ($44,000) are available per physician. So a practice with 3 providers would be eligible for $132,000 in stimulus money.
Government distribution of the grant money will begin in 2011-2012. Installments will be made over a 5 year period.