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Payers Pave Way to Provider EHRs

Cora Nucci, for HealthLeaders Media, August 11, 2010

Physicians facing down a 2015 federal deadline for upgrading to electronic health record systems are finding that many insurers are eager to help with technology and financing.

That's how as it should be, according to David Blumenthal, MD, MP, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, "The CMS and ONC regulations establish only the parameters of the federal program. The public and private sectors can and must collaborate in furthering the goal of creating a 21st century electronic health information system in the United States," he said Thursday at a forum titled "Accelerating Electronic Health Records Adoption and Meaningful Use."

Judging by the latest batch of earnings reports, payers are flush and investing in EMRs is solid bet, backed by federal greenbacks due to physicians who meet meaningful use requirements as part of health reform legislation.

Next year, for example, some hospitals in California and Georgia may be eligible to borrow funds from WellPoint. Its Q2 earnings announced last month beat Wall Street estimates.

On Tuesday, Humana announced that it would go a step further and subsidize the implementation cost of athenahealth's EHR service for eligible physicians. A statement from Humana says, "participating physicians could realize additional revenue of 20 percent beyond their current fee-for-service base collections from Humana."

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