Bill would pay for physician health IT costs

A new federal bill is now under consideration which would help physician practices afford the cost of implementing more sophisticated health IT tools. Interestingly, the bill was shaped not solely by Congressional staffers, but also by direct input from a vendor, Carrollton, GA-based Greenway Medical Technologies, which makes software integrating EMR and practice management functions. The bill, the National Health Information Incentive Act, would offer physicians grants, loans and tax incentives intended to reduce the risk of making health IT investments. Tax incentives would include a tax depreciation incentive for up to $250,000 worth of spending. (That may not do much for larger practices, who spend roughly $44,000 per physician to implement EMRs, but it's a start.) The grants and loans, meanwhile, would be offered to practices with less than 10 physicians on board. The bill has sponsors from both the Democratic and Republican side of the aisle, including Reps. Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas) and Phil Gingrey (R-GA), which some believe will give it a better shot at passing.

To learn more about the bill:
- read this Healthcare IT News article