Are hospitals the primary beneficiaries of the health IT stimulus?

There’s a lot to digest in the economic stimulus bill, but it appears that hospitals will be the recipient of the majority of the $19 billion allocated to health IT.

MedPage Today takes a closer look at the language and finds that “the Senate bill allocated about $19 billion to upgrade hospitals’ electronic records systems and limited how much an individual hospital could receive to $1.5 million . . . The House version allocated $20 billion and contained no cap on individual hospitals’ share.”

Considering that the majority of small or group practices are without electronic records, I agree with Matthew Mintz, who says that it is these outpatient doctors who need these funds the most.

“Many hospitals already have an electronic medical record/electronic ordering,” points out Dr. Mintz, “whereas most practicing physicians (especially primary care) do not have an EMR. Would it not be better to give $85,000 to each primary care physician to set up his or her own EMR?”

There’s going to be a lot jockeying and gaming going on between the hospitals to grab a share of those federal dollars. I wouldn’t be surprised to see primary care doctors lose out. Again.

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  • Anonymous

    The primary beneficiary in the end are the beaurocrats themselves who will finally have the tools that they need for near complete control of the most personal aspects of people’s lives.