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Stimulus Package: What Impact Will it Have?
July 30, 2009, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm CDT
Dr. Bob Williams, Tom Foley, Deloitte Consulting, and Eric Finocchiaro, Deloitte Consulting Specialist Leader. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of February 2009 provides $36 Billion in incentive funding to accelerate the adoption and interoperability of electronic health records (EHR), as well as significant penalty provisions for non-achievement. The stimulus funding, combined with extremely low rates of current EHR usage in U.S. hospitals (about 10% per a recent study), will drive significant and unprecedented spending increases on electronic health record technology and related IT modernization over the next five years, with corollary demand for high-quality consulting assistance. Based on recent estimates of current healthcare IT annual capital spending, if the $36 billion is spent directly on technology, overall spending will increase by 52% over the next six years. It is likely that the actual spending necessary to qualify for the incentives will be a 3-5 times multiplier of the $36B. Deloitte presents their assessment of industry challenges related to the HITECH ACT within healthcare providers. For example, HITECH does not provide a mechanism for the significant direct capital and operating funds needed to implement an EHR – providers will have to examine operational priorities and explore financial options for funding. Also, the definition of “meaningful use” and exact timelines and eligibility, as well as other provisions of the act, are still being defined by the Federal Government.