Q&A: ARRA Stimulus Money for Already Installed EMR

EMR and HIPAA Reader Submitted Question:
Can you get ARRA stimulus money for systems already installed? Thank you.

The simple answer is YES!

The longer answer is that ARRA makes no differentiation between those that have previously installed an EMR, are currently installing an EMR or that will install an EMR in the future. the HITECH Act (ARRA) just requires that a provider shows “meaningful use” of a “certified EHR.” So, as long as the EMR which you previously installed is a “certified EHR” (still yet to be defined) and can support you showing “meaningful use” (almost defined), then you’d be entitled to the EMR stimulus money.

If you’d like to have a question for me to answer, submit it to the EMR and HIPAA contact us page.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • One interesting aspect of the incentive bonuses is that to receive the 2011 bonus a provider only has to meet the critera for 90 consecutive days. Subsequent years require full year meaningful use of certifed technology to be eligible.

  • I would add one minor point of clarification. If you already have an EHR, you will have to upgrade your software to the certified HHS version, and then use it in a “meaningful way”. You would not be able to use the software version you are running right now to get your stimulus funds.

  • Jim,
    Definitely is an interesting aspect of the legislation.

    That’s probably true. Although, until they release the specifications for certification we won’t know for sure. It’s possible that the certification criteria will match an EMR vendor’s current release. However, it’s LIKELY that most EMR vendors will need to make some changes to their software to meet the “certified EHR” criteria. Which would then, as you say, require an upgrade to their existing EHR software.

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