"To improve the quality of our health care while lowering its costs, we will make the immediate investments necessary to ensure that, within five years, all of America’s medical records are computerized."
-- President Obama, January 8, 2009
On February 17, 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was signed by President Obama. ARRA contains the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which includes $19.2 billion to improve healthcare information technology: $2 billion for infrastructure and $17.2 billion for incentives through the centers for Medicare and Medicaid.
The federal incentive programs are available to eligible healthcare providers and eligible hospitals when they adopt certified EHRs and successfully demonstrate meaningful use of the technology in ways that improve the quality, safety, and effectiveness of healthcare
When all costs are included, EHR implementation can easily cost $30,000 per provider. While the federal incentive payments are an important source of financial support in your transition to an EHR, they're not your only option. Rhode Island health insurers offer financial incentives to physicians adopting EHRs, and several local banks have crafted programs specifically designed to make EHRs affordable for physicians. Finally, the RI Regional Extension Center offers subsidy payments for eligible PCPs.