Does anyone know whether or not the government is implementing some kind of incentive benefit for non-Medicare/Medicaid users? Or are these practices totally out of luck?
The short answer (at least for now) is not really. The ARRA EHR stimulus money is provided through Medicare and Medicaid programs as “bonuses” for those who show “meaningful use” of a “certified EHR.”
With that said, there are some grants available for special situations. For example, they have a beacon communities program which are given to organizations that will supposedly take EHR software to the next level and be examples for their communities of what can be done with IT and EMR software.
I’ve heard there’s other grants that people can apply for also, but I’m not sure all of the details. I also hear that there might be some EMR stimulus money available in the latest healthcare reform bill. For example, I read somewhere recently that the healthcare reform bill includes some stimulus money for long term care which has basically been left out of stimulus money as well.
Clinics interested in EMR software should also be able to get some help from the RECs and HITRCs. At least their stated mission is to assist doctors to adopt and meaningfully use EMR software. I think the jury’s still out on how helpful these RECs will actually be. It’s a nice idea, but could go horribly wrong if not done right.
I won’t go into all the details here, but not qualifying for the EMR stimulus money might just be the best thing that’s happened to your practice. That means you won’t be distracted and you don’t need to wait. You can hone in on the other EMR benefits and start reaping those benefits without all the bureaucracy.