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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Health Information Technology

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What Do I Need to Know Before I Search for Money?

You will need to consider that the financial return on investment (ROI) can vary from practice to practice and can also vary throughout the course of the implementation process.  Factors such as prior workflows and health IT integration can initially lower your ROI.  Also, it may be difficult to know what your future ROI will be.  Therefore it is a good idea to plan now for upfront and ongoing costs.  To help cover these costs, you should investigate the available Federal, State, foundation, and private funding options.

Incentive payments will be available sometime in 2011 to Medicare and Medicaid providers who purchase, adopt, implement or demonstrate the “meaningful use” of EHR systems.  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) authorizes incentives for eligible professionals under the Medicaid meaningful use program (physicians, nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, dentists, and some physician assistants) of $21,250 in the first year and $8,500 in each of five remaining consecutive years, for a total of $63,750 over a period of six years.  Medicare eligible professionals can receive up to $44,000 over five years.  This incentive is not meant to pay the full cost of your EHR system.  It pays for up to 85 percent of the cost of the EHR and you are expected to contribute at least 15 percent of the cost. 

 There may also be efforts in your State to support safety-net providers with grant or loan-based funding.  Private foundations and corporate philanthropy may also offer funding.  The last question of this module, “Where Can I Learn About Federal, State, and Foundation Funding Support?” provides information on specific funding opportunities that you might be eligible for.    

Related Resources:

HRSA Health IT Adoption Toolkit, Financing Health IT – HRSA toolkit financing module provides information and resources on how to begin a search for financing Health IT.  
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) EHR Incentive Program – CMS’ official website offers detailed information on how to qualify for and receive EHR incentive payments.   

Developed by the Health Resources and Services Administration as a resource for health centers and other safety net and ambulatory care providers who are seeking to implement health IT.
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