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House Stimulus Bill Draft Calls for $2 Billion for ONCHIT, $18 Billion for CMS P4P Incentives

January 16, 2009 News 7 Comments

The discussion draft (warning: PDF) of The American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009 in the House of Representatives contains only $2 billion in new funds specific earmarked for healthcare IT, with that entire amount to be managed by the Office of the National Coordinator. The remainder of the $20 billion figure that was quoted for healthcare IT would  be distributed by CMS as pay-for-performance incentives that have not yet been defined.

ONCHIT’s short-term $2 billion spending would be targeted for nationwide information exchange, healthcare professional training (possibly in informatics, not specifically stated), and grants for hospitals and doctors to acquire CCHIT-certified products.

A report from Piper Jaffray analyst Sean Wieland says that most of the CMS incentive funds will go to hospitals, with the intention of covering 1/3 of the cost of electronic medical records systems, but not prior to purchase.

Meanwhile on the other side of Congress, testimony from yesterday morning’s Senate hearing on Investing in Health IT: A Stimulus for a Healthier America is available online in video and PDF formats. Witness testimony is included from Jack Conchran of The Permanente Foundation, Janet Corrigan of the National Quality Forum, Valerie Melvin of the GAO, Peter Neupert of Microsoft, and Mary Grealy of Health Leadership Council.

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Currently there are "7 comments" on this Article:

  1. I know I am often the lone voice of dissent in this forum, but I wonder how giving $2 billion to a government agency will work out? I’m picturing hospitals calling in favors to get their hands on the money, stifling meaningful process improvement along the way. And when the money is spent, and problems still remain, we’ll wonder why (or demand more).
    Watch the markets; any short term boom will be succeeded by further contraction. In other sectors, our dear leaders are trying to artificially increase the price of milk. http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/article/20090115/NEWS02/301159967/0/FRONTPAGE
    didn’t FDR try something along these lines? How did that work out?

  2. I’m reading through the speaker list thinking “Microsoft”? Let me guess – let’s all use Health Vault.

    They should use their marketing clout somewhere else…

  3. I agree with Skeptic above. I thought the National Research Council and IOM published an almost “dangerous” document.

    It certainly contrasts the national agenda to be a catalyst in adoption. In fact is almost says…”stop everything”.

    I agree with the premise that we must focus on outcomes and not technology, and technology adoption does not create better outcomes. These adoptions should not be “IT projects”. They are process improvement and change management projects. Anyone just trying to install software and hardware will fail and ultimately not achieve the goal of making it “safer for patients and easier for clinicians”. In that regard the NRC was correct. The message could be managed better to align with the Presidents.

    This is not a chicken and egg situation. We must start with the technology, capturing codified information in order to track outcome performance. Striving for perfection out of the gate will create a stall in the process that we may never overcome.

    My two cents…FWIW (one cent)

  4. Skeptic, if you think the timing of their report (the IOM Report on Computer Research in Health IT) was coincidence, I’d think again. This is simply their way to ask for money. Decry all that has gone before, tell the world not to spend more on it, and instead give them your money and they’ll create a new shining path for all to follow.

    What computer science students do you think build the systems we have today? Think they might have graduated from the same schools whose professors along with Google and Intel sounded the alarm to stop using what’s already out there until they can get some government money to create something truly genious for you to buy instead?

    I wonder how much clout Schmidt would have if not for the a couple of young guys who just got out there and did something clever. Easy to have friends in goverment when you’re a billionaire. Also, how long will we have to listen to Jonathan Bush now that Todd Park is gone? His 15 minutes of fame should be up sometime soon.

    When people can’t compete in the market, their last resort is to spend some their cash to get a few politians to change the rules of the game in their favor. That kind of business is what brought down the financial market. Let’s wise up.

  5. Lots of hype but the House stimulus bill will likely have some significant modifications especially to ensure it gets the support it needs to pass through the Senate. Take the figures in the House stimulus bill with a grain of salt.

    If that $2B stimulus spending does stick and I were a betting man, I would get that Academic Medical Centers are going to push hard on their senators and congressman to get their hands on that money. Maybe some community hospitals system get a slice of the pie since it is large but I bet that any hospital under 200 beds likely won’t get a stiff of it unless they decide to play nice with their large AMC brethren..

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