The $44K incentive for EHRs is TAXABLE!

Posted on July 19, 2011 I Written By

Dr. West is an endocrinologist in private practice in Washington, DC. He completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. West opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC in 2009. He can be contacted at doctorwestindc@gmail.com.

The topic today folks is a short but poignant one.  Yesterday, I noticed on a blog somewhere out there in cyberspace that apparently the $44K incentive money isn’t exactly all that  it’s counted on to be.  Most people probably do not recognize that even though it’s originating from a federal program, the federal government is going to be taking about a third of it right back in taxes based on how it’s paid out.  Unlike tax write-offs that we can all qualify for if we are using money for business expenses, apparently this isn’t the case for the $44K, which is slated to be paid to individual doctors.

How does $29K sound?  If you’re the federal government, let me say it sounds like a really good deal for saving money.  Will $12K in the first year recoup all that is needed to be put into computer hardware, complex software, office rewiring/networking, and IT consulting and maintenance costs?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Go for an EHR system if you want it for your practice to be more modern and electronic, not for incentive carrots.  You know those baby carrots that are left after all the outsides are shaved away?  Yeah, the two-inch stubbies you can find in the produce aisle in plastic bags.  Well, I wonder if this is an apt comparison with what you can really expect from the incentive money in the end.

Dr. West is an endocrinologist in private practice in Washington, DC.  He completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. West opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC, as a solo practice in 2009.  He can be reached at doctorwestindc@gmail.com.