I’ve discussed on multiple occasions the possible impacts of the congressional changes on the EMR stimulus money. Justin Barnes on The Health Care Blog recently posted the best reason I’ve seen yet for the EMR stimulus money and meaningful use being safe from being cut, stopped, or otherwise maimed due to some political change. Here’s his description:
Fundamentally it’s important to note that the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, from which the Meaningful Use program and its funding originates within the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, is an entirely different statute than PPACA.
Bipartisan support for the tenets and the spirit of HITECH dates back at least seven years, and it is also noteworthy that the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), which administers Meaningful Use, was created by the Bush administration and a Republican Congress.
Politics aside though, the reason that Meaningful Use funds are secure is because they are drawn from the Medicare Trust Funds held by the U.S. Treasury, and are therefore not subject to annual Congressional budget appropriations or oversight.
From what I’ve read, the funding is really the only tool that the republicans have to damage the various democratic legislation that they don’t like. Since the meaningful use funds are part of the Medicare Trust Funds and not subject to the congressional budget, I think that clearly defines why the EMR stimulus money is safe.
So, you can all go out and safely buy your certified EHR and start showing meaningful use of your favorite EHR software.