News | March 02, 2009

ACC Offers Summary of Recovery Act's Impact on Healthcare

March 2, 2009 - The American College of Cardiology (ACC) has created a summary of the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009,” aka "the stimulus bill," which includes recommendations for its members.

ARRA authorizes $17.2 billion in incentives through Medicare and Medicaid to assist providers in adopting health information technology (IT). From 2011 to 2015, physicians that demonstrate meaningful use of electronic health record (EHR) technology and performance during the reporting period of each payment year will be eligible for positive payment incentives. Beginning in 2015, physicians who are not meaningfully using EHRs will receive negative Medicare payment updates.

The ACC recommends that its members who do not currently use an EHR begin the process of adoption in 2009 and implement a system no later than 2010 in order to receive the maximum bonuses available under the program.

Practices interested in implementing EHR systems should be sure that EHR vendors provide a guaranteed upgrade path that ensures their products will meet certification criteria as established by HHS. Including this requirement will also benefit practices interested in purchasing and implementing systems in 2009. The ACC also recommends purchasing a CCHIT-certified EHR.

Given the many benefits of using health IT, including reduced administrative cost and medical errors, the ACC highly encourages members to take advantage of the federal funding available from 2011-2015. ACC said the funding can significantly offset the cost of adopting this technology.

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