What’s This Health Care Legislation Called The HITECH Act?
The Symptoms: Health care costs are spiraling out of control in the United States. Without a corresponding increase in quality of medical care.
The Plan: The HITECH Act is the current remedy for the ailing American medical and health care industry.
Can we improve health care in the United States?
President George W. Bush thought we could. President Bush thought healthcare in America could be improved by leveraging health information technology. And in particular, he articulated his vision of an electronic health record for every American back in 2004.
Something called the HITECH Act became part of the Stimulus Bill, officially known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
(ARRA) of 2009. ARRA was not considered to be health care legislation, but a portion of it was devoted to the electronic health record vision of President George W. Bush.
When President Barack Obama signed the Stimulus bill on February 17, 2009, it included $19 Billion for incentive payments to health care providers and for enabling the adoption and the meaningful use of electronic health records.
What is the HITECH Act?
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act is the sub-provision of ARRA which deals with health information technology, medical technology and electronic health records in particular.
Since electronic health record data must be exchanged and shared in a secure and private manner, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance requirements were addressed as well. The HITECH Act put some teeth into HIPAA laws by specifying sanctions and penalties for HIPAA violations which could be financial or include jail time!
What’s the goal of the HITECH Act?
The main objective of the legislation is to improve patient care. This goal includes controlling health care costs, reducing medical errors and improving the quality of health care delivery in the United States.
Who are the players?
These are the people with the club. Reimbursements to Medicare and Medicaid health care providers will be reduced starting in 2015 – if a provider has not installed an Electronic Health Record System.
- Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC)
The ONC is the principal Federal entity charged with coordination of nationwide health information technology initiatives and the electronic exchange of health information. The Office of the National Coordinator was established as part of the HITECH Act. Hence the ONC role is to carryout the HITECH Act.
- Health Care Providers:
Hospitals, physicians and clinicians are the ones who have to invest time and money into the implementation of electronic health record systems. The good news is the HITECH Act provides incentive payments to ease the pain.
The Health Information Exchanges enable and facilitate the exchange of health information. HIEs have begun on a regional level. Once the full roll out of the HITECH Act is complete, health care data will be exchanged between hospitals, between physicians, within regions, and nationally.
Also, some of the meaningful use criteria require exchange of data with public health entities.
- Electronic Health Record Software Vendors:
It would be a daunting task for each health care provider to develop their own electronic health record software / system. Not to worry. There are hundreds of vendors who are providing electronic health record software
The key to qualifying for the meaningful use incentive payments is to implement CERTIFIED electronic health record software. Another role of the ONC is to certify electronic health record products and systems.
Need help sorting it all out?
Call Sandra Noble at 404-374-3384 to discuss Next Steps!
I invite you to claim free access to an informative interview audio titled
How To Convert To Electronic Health Records,
When I’m Completely Technology Adverse,
And Don’t Know Where To Start!
Is electronic health record adoption a mystery to you?
Don’t have the time or expertise?
Want to take advantage of EHR incentive money?
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