February 13, 2009
House- and Senate-Passed Stimulus Includes HIT, Other Health Care Provisions
The U.S. House and Senate have passed an extensive stimulus package that includes a number of health care provisions.
Of particular importance to ASA, the legislation includes nearly $20 billion in funding for health information technology (HIT) initiatives, including Medicare and Medicaid incentives to encourage doctors, hospitals and other providers to use HIT in the electronic exchange of patients’ health information. Grants would also be available to promote interoperability of clinical data repositories or registries such as ASA’s new Anesthesia Quality Institute, Inc.
Other provisions in the stimulus package include: a continuation of Medicare payments to teaching hospitals for indirect medical education (IME), rather than a reduction slated for 2009; a temporary increase to the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP), which will help states avoid Medicaid funding cuts, with the possibility of additional assistance based upon a state’s unemployment rate; and premium subsidies for COBRA for recently unemployed workers, which is estimated to help 7 million people maintain their health insurance after losing their jobs.
President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law within days.
ASA is continuing to analyze the nearly 1,100-page legislation and will post additional information and commentary as it becomes available.