GOP Bill No Reason to Postpone EMR Implementation

Republican bill that imperils funding for meaningful use incentives has a long way to go before it becomes law — if it ever does. President Obama may have celebrated an emerging health care IT system in his State of the Union address, but at the same time, Republican lawmakers were producing a bill that imperils funding for meaningful use incentives. Should you be concerned? The Spending Reduction Act of 2011 (H.R. 408), which Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio introduced on January 24, seeks to reduce federal spending by $2.5 trillion over the coming decade. To do so, it plans to eliminate many federal programs — specifically, subtitles B and C of title II and titles III through VII of division B of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Since the federal EMR incentive program set up under the ARRA/HITECH Act of 2009 falls under division B of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, it seems that the new bill would cut disbursements to health care providers for EMR adoption. Providers who want to purchase an EMR are wondering if they really want to start down that path, which is understandable, but there’s no reason to panic. The bill’s passage is not assured. Republicans control the House, but the Democrats control the Senate — and it seems almost assured that any bill like this one would surely be vetoed by President Obama, who’s been a strong supporter of EMR implementation. Meanwhile, EMR implementation is increasing: Fourteen thousand providers had registered for meaningful use incentives as of early February, up from the 13,000 announced in January, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). Our take: Don’t let the political noise prevent you from implementing an EMR. “We’re trying to tell people that this process is going on,” says Dave Roberts, vice president of government relations for HIMSS. “This is only one body [of Congress]. Don’t let this be a concern.” Republican bill that imperils funding for meaningful use incentives has a long way to go before it becomes lawif it ever does.

President Obama may have celebrated an emerging health care IT system in his State of the Union address, but at the same time, Republican lawmakers were producing a bill that imperils funding for meaningful use incentives. Should you be concerned?

The Spending Reduction Act of 2011 (H.R. 408), which Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio introduced on January 24, seeks to reduce federal spending by $2.5 trillion over the coming decade. To do so, it plans to eliminate many federal programsspecifically, subtitles B and C of title II and titles III through VII of division B of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Since the federal EMR incentive program set up under the ARRA/HITECH Act of 2009 falls under division B of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, it seems that the new bill would cut disbursements to health care providers for EMR adoption.

Providers who want to purchase an EMR are wondering if they really want to start down that path, which is understandable, but there’s no reason to panic. The bill’s passage is not assured. Republicans control the House, but the Democrats control the Senateand it seems almost assured that any bill like this one would surely be vetoed by President Obama, who’s been a strong supporter of EMR implementation.

Meanwhile, EMR implementation is increasing: Fourteen thousand providers had registered for meaningful use incentives as of early February, up from the 13,000 announced in January, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).

Our take: Don’t let the political noise prevent you from implementing an EMR. “We’re trying to tell people that this process is going on,” says Dave Roberts, vice president of government relations for HIMSS. “This is only one body [of Congress]. Don’t let this be a concern.”

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.