HITECH Act is not about Reform

Sorting Out the HITECH Act

Like last week’s posts on EHR certification seals, I am amazed at the feedback received on my post yesterday, Will HITECH Act EHR Incentives Be Cut? Unlike last week I can’t get over the misinformation that still exists around this subject especially in our industry. I even got hit with it at my doctor visit last week. And I am truly convinced that it all stems from the absurd labeling of anything related to health care these days as “ObamaCare”. Do the people using this term even know what they are talking about? What actual law, bill, policy, or initiative is included in “ObamaCare”?

I thought this cute little label was intended for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by the people who didn’t like the Act? You know, the House bill amended by the Senate Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 and signed into law in March of 2010. Or is it about the Accountable Care Act? No there is no such thing, it is an Accountable Care Organization which is defined in the Affordable Care Act in Section 3022. So how does this have anything to do with the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (the HITECH Act). You know, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment (ARRA) Act of 2009 signed into law in February of 2009. The one that people like to call “the stimulus bill”.

The CMS EHR Incentive programs were created from the HITECH Act. The HITECH Act is a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The HITECH Act was a bipartisan effort to fund GW Bush’s 1994 EHR Adoption Initiative that he began with an Executive Order and the vision to have everyone’s medical records electronic and portable. The EHR Adoption Initiative has never been part of the insurance health care discussion or reform. If you read or hear about the repeal of ObamaCare or health care reform there would be no connection to the HITECH Act.

As for health care reform, here is a good timeline of major health care reform laws, with their legitimate names, in the past 25 years.

And I must repeat myself, HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) the leading health IT organization released a paper, “Super Committee” on the Deficit and Potential Implications for Health IT, last week which is well worth the read.