"They want $350,000 for 8-man practice," he said. "And that doesn't include the need for new hardware every five years, and the costs of ongoing on-site technical assistance. No one talks about the future costs of maintaining an electronic record, but boy, they sure are eager to get you to buy one."
"Over $40,000 per doctor? What would it cost to add another person to your practice?" I asked.
"I really don't know, the conversation never got that far."
Addendum: Just after posting this, the Wall Street Journal reported the following from the economic stimulus package:
"Physicians using electronic records will be eligible for more than $40,000 each in Medicare incentive payments over several years starting in 2011. Hospitals can also qualify for millions of dollars in incentive payments (editors note: huh?). Doctors and hospitals not going electronic by 2015 will be subject to penalties."Add to this, the following tidbit:
Both bill outlines would give docs who e-prescribe a 2% bonus in 2009 and 2010. Those who don’t use e-prescribing would see their payments cut by 1% in 2011, and by 2% in 2013 and beyond."Now, do you wait until 2011 to make a purchase and get penalized by the government's own e-prescribing rule, or bite the bullet now and risk losing the government's stipend for an EMR purchase?
I bet they wait 'til 2011. I would.