The federal government's call for health IT investment comes at a time when hospitals are facing an economic crunch and are having difficulty accessing capital markets, Kansas Health Institute News reports.
The federal stimulus package includes about $19 billion in incentive payments for hospitals and physicians who use health IT. However, providers will receive the funding only after they have adopted the technology, not as upfront financing.
Cindy Samuelson, a spokesperson for the Kansas Hospital Association, said, "It's a very expensive investment to make," adding, "But hopefully, the economy will turn around."
Some Kansas Hospitals Getting a Head Start
The Great Plains Health Alliance, a 25-hospital-network in central and western Kansas, is using a USDA grant to implement a health IT system.
Via Christi Health System in Wichita also has begun health IT implementation and will continue its efforts despite the recession.
Mike Wegner, CFO of Via Christi Health System, said, "It is an endeavor we started several years ago, and we don't intend to slow down on that" (Shields, Kansas Health Institute News, 4/13).