Health IT alliance to spread stimulus gospel

A group of health information technology vendors announced today that they have formed an alliance to educate physicians about health IT incentives contained in the federal economic stimulus law.

The Electronic Health Records Stimulus Alliance includes Allscripts-Misys Healthcare Solutions Inc., Cisco Systems Inc., Citrix Systems Inc., Dell Inc., Intel Corp., Intuit Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Nuance Communications Inc. The alliance partners offer unique health IT solutions; for example, Nuance specializes in speech-recognition software for health care applications.

The stimulus act passed by Congress in February includes $17 billion in incentive payments to doctors’ offices and hospitals that buy health IT systems and demonstrate meaningful use of EHRs.

The alliance is sponsoring a touring education program for doctors to inform them about the stimulus incentives. The program includes executive briefings, discussions, trade-show presentations, Webcasts and a Web site,

Under the stimulus law, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will pay the health IT incentives to physicians over five years, beginning in fiscal 2011. Physicians who have not adopted certified EHR systems by 2014 will have their Medicare reimbursements reduced by 1 percent beginning in 2015; 2 percent in 2016; and by up to 3 percent in 2017 and later.