The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the Act), which was signed by President Barack Obama on February 17, 2009. The Act includes approximately $20 billion allocated to health information technology (IT) projects, including the investment in health IT infrastructure to facilitate a nationwide health information network, the endorsement of standards to assist in this endeavor, and the provision of incentives through Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement to assist physicians and hospitals in acquiring electronic health record (EHR) technology. The policy implications of the funding and incentive package promote education and dissemination of best practices through administrative and infrastructure change. This White Paper summarizes the major provisions of the HITECH Act and offers preliminary analysis on how the provisions will affect health care providers, hospitals and those who serve the health care industry. The HITECH Act is complicated legislation that includes different effective dates for different provisions. In addition, it requires HHS to issue regulations and reports on numerous health IT topics.
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