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CHIME: CIOs' Hopes Sag for EHR Early Funding

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, April 14, 2011

Healthcare CIOs remain optimistic about getting federal EHR stimulus funding, but a growing number acknowledge that federal reimbursement will come later than they'd originally predicted, a quarterly survey by the College of Health Information Management Executives shows.

One-third of the 200 CHIME members who responded to the March survey said they expect to qualify for stimulus funding under the HITECH portion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act within the first year of the program, which began on Sept. 30, 2010.

The survey, however, shows fewer CHIME members believe they will qualify for funding within the first six months of the federal program. Only 7.5% of respondents said they expected to qualify for funding by April 1, 2011, compared with 15% of respondents to the same question in November 2010, and 28% of CIOs who responded to the first CHIME survey in August 2010.

Pamela McNutt, senior vice president/CIO of Methodist Health System and chair of CHIME's Policy Steering Committee, told reporters in a conference call on Wednesday afternoon that the road to meaningful use is proving more arduous than many had thought, as CIOs run into a number of nettlesome problems from IT staff shortages to quality measure snafus.

"It's like anything else, the devil is in the details," says McNutt, pointing to a shift in "top concerns" among CIOs. "In December and last year people were concerned about certification and CPOE (computerized physician order entry). What we have seen now is that 26% of the participants in the survey are now concerned about capturing and submitting quality measures. The quality measures are becoming the sticky wicket for everyone."

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