Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Schizophrenia of the Feds


There is a lot of hype about healthcare stimulus funding, ARRA, HITECH and ONC.

Surveys amongst the nations top hospital CIOs are not 'bullish' about any of these programs.

HealthSystemCIO reports:

In what makes for a disturbing combination, CIOs are both doubtful that the federal government (HHS/CMS/ONC) will have the HITECH program fully operational by the time incentives are to be paid out, and pessimistic about their chances of qualifying for those payments, according to the healthsystemCIO.com April SnapSurvey.


The takeaways are:

1. Disconnect between deadlines for payments, and finalization of Meaningful use criteria

2.Hospitals will judge and plan their HIT plans in line with improving qualityof care, efficiency and individual needs rather than the promise of dubious federal funding.

3. The program envisioned and planned by ONC and HITECH is not adequate and will run out of cash (much like the 'cash for clunkers" program).


Individual Providers also face the same conundrum. Caution is the better part of action at this point.  A fear of being 'left out' is driving most acquisitions at this point. Careful ROI is still prudent.

In actuality the ROI may be a negative number for many providers.  Will the losses be greater with or without an EMR. The rule of negative incentives still prevails.

Politico a well known web site published in Arlington Virginia gives a nicely worded summation of too much to soon.

But as a particularly stringent and new regulation nears, numerous medical groups say that the aggressive government push to digitize is too much, too soon. Health information technology in the United States remains highly fragmented, so any large overhauls, experts warn, must work on a timeline that stretches years into the future.