The Department Health and Human Services is expected to issue a rules change today which will make it far easier for hospitals to encourage affiliated physicians to use the same technology they use. HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt is scheduled to grant hospitals an exemption from the Stark Amendment, a Medicare anti-kickback rule which prevents hospitals from providing financial incentives to doctors for referring business. The change will allow hospitals to legally sell or rent access to electronic medical records systems to physicians who are affiliated with them. In theory, that means smaller practices will be able to obtain access to systems for far less, increasing use of the technology. It also means hospitals may be able to offset the cost of EMR purchases by reselling access to software. Several hospitals and medical groups are already providing EMR services to other doctors on an ASP basis, and this trend will grow even though it is clearly intended to attract referrals.
- see this article from BusinessWeek