House leaders want a Dec. 31, 2009 deadline for a set of initial health information standards and have pledged up to $65,000 per physician in provider incentive payments under Medicare and Medicaid programs to help spur the adoption and use of electronic health records, according to legislative provisions that are part of a massive economic stimulus bill.
Under terms set out in the bill, hospitals would be eligible for millions of dollars in incentive payments to become fully wired facilities.
Conversely, providers that do not adopt health IT or do not use it effectively would face steep payment penalties starting in 2016.
All told, provisions in the bill offer more than $20 billion in financial incentives, which the Congressional Budget Office said could increase health IT adoption to 90% in the physician community and to about 70% in the hospital sector over the next 10 years.
The health IT portion of the legislation, which melds aspects of two separate billsone from the House Ways and Means Committee and another from the House Energy and Commerce Committeewould also strengthen federal privacy and security protections, including halting the sale and mining of a patient's health information without the patients consent.
Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) said that the larger bill would help grow the economy so that we can recover from the current downturn.