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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Military Medicine Funding for Regional Extension Center

Continuing this week's summary news Better Health created a series of video interviews at HIMSS.  You will find it here. Thanks to Val Jones, MD and Dr. Anonymous.  The range of interviewees extends from Sprint to Epocrates.

Increases in Health-Care Costs Even Worse in Military

The military’s latest enemy: rising health-care costs.

The Governor's Healthcare IT Conference

How Smartphones are Changing Healthcare for Physicians and Providers


New Regional Extension Centers Might Lack Proper Funding, Staff

from today's iHealthbeat:

Regional extension centers might be too understaffed and underfunded to provide the help health care providers need in adopting electronic health record systems, according to a recent study in the journal Health Affairs, American Medical News reports.

The 2009 federal stimulus package includes about $640 million to establish regional extension centers to help small health care practices become meaningful users of health IT.

HHS has awarded funding to establish a total of 60 centers throughout the U.S.

Study Findings

The study, funded by the Commonwealth Foundation, reviewed 29 existing programs that aim to help health providers with EHR adoption.

The study authors concluded that those working at the extension centers should have direct experience with small practices and technical knowledge -- a combination they say is difficult to find.

The researchers noted that many health care practices have difficulty selecting an EHR system and that extension centers are not providing adequate assistance in that area.

Researchers also warned that regional extension centers might be unsustainable due to inadequate funding. They noted that similar projects in Massachusetts and New York spent on average 10 times as much per targeted physician than the stimulus package funding provides (Lewis Dolan, American Medical News, 4/28).

Is  it possible that this will be an unfunded mandate?  Will state governments or university systems have to foot the rest of the bill, and will they?  Certainly this may fuel a new wave of employees, but who will pay them?  The 40,000 dollar incentive per physcian says nothing about the cost of selection, implementation, or operational and maintenace costs.

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