Cost of HITECH Act
What will the HITECH actually cost taxpayers?
Neil Versel reports in his column today that the behavioral health community is upset because many mental health care professionals are not eligible for the health IT incentive payments.
Charles Ingoglia, VP of public policy at the National Council for Community Behavioral Health Care said that as the Recovery Act was developed in Congress, the amount of money available for health information technology was reduced from $50 billion to $20 billion and mental health providers got left out.
Versel adds that CMS recently estimated that it would pay out about $27 billion in incentives over the life of the meaningful-use program, but didn’t say if that included savings.
You could look at this from the perspective of “infrastructure investment.” After all the U.S. interstate highway system, built by the Eisenhower Administration, cost (in today’s dollars) many billions. It is fair to say it was a good investment that has paid off for citizens many times over. Will we be able to say the same about our “national” EHR system?