Understanding Proposed Repeal of ARRA EMR Stimulus Package
The proposed H.R. 408 Spending Reduction Act of 2011 was recently introduced and SEC. 301. of the same proposes a rather dismal scenario for healthcare providers and related, business entities who yet haven’t upgraded themselves to the HIPPA-compliant EMR format of storing/sharing Patient Healthcare Information. This Act proposes withdrawal of unspent EMR stimulus funds. This means that all unobligated balances of EHR stimulus money introduced as a part of division A of ARRA-American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5), should be withdrawn.
SEC. 302 of this Act emphasizes upon the repeal of many provisions that were presented as a part of the EMR stimulus package. This means that all Recovery Act stimulus benefits offered through subtitles B & C of Title II & III respectively (Division B of ARRA 2009) will be withdrawn.
If this Act is enacted, the results can be rather devastating. For starters, healthcare providers that haven’t adopted EMR software would become immediately lose any chance of ever receiving EMR stimulus benefits. Secondly, healthcare providers Medicare/Medicaid health services are under a greater threat-this is because the concept of ‘meaningful use’ that forms the basis of receiving EMR incentive programs is covered under Title IV of Subtitle B. Thus, nearly $27 billion of unspent stimulus incentives can be repealed!
Why does this make ‘little sense’? This proposal was presented in the 112th Congress (2011-2012) H.R. 408. IH SEC. 301 but HITECH Act doesn’t form a part of tax provisions that are covered under ARRA. Further, H.R. 408 appears to handle HITECH Act in a rather limited (partial) manner, i.e. it focuses only upon the repeal of unspent authorized funding but doesn’t mention anything about how HITECH Act benchmarks, set as a part of Privacy Rule & Security Rule, will be adopted on a nationwide basis. There is no mention of how easier formats for HIPAA-compliant EMR software will be created in a more cost-effective manner.