April 23, 2007
Reps. Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas) and Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) on Thursday introduced a bill that would give grants, loans and tax incentives to small physician-practices to help offset the costs of health IT systems, Health IT Strategist reports.
Under the bill, Medicare would provide payment incentives that could be used by physician practices with 10 or fewer full-time employees to purchase health IT infrastructure tools, such as electronic health record systems, evidence-based clinical decision support tools and secure e-mail.
HHS also could include additional incentives for evaluation and care management services, payments for structured e-mail consultations and any other necessary communication methods, Health IT Strategist reports.
The amount of reimbursement would be based on certain factors, including the type and price of equipment and how it will be used, according to the bill. Grants and loans also would be subject to the discretion of the HHS secretary.
The bill also would change the tax code to increase deductions for purchasing qualified health IT tools for physician practices qualifying under the IRS’ broad definition of a small business. Physicians also could use the deduction for equipment that they started using at the beginning of 2007, Health IT Strategist reports (DoBias, Health IT Strategist, 4/20).