Many CIOs optimistic about receipt of meaningful use incentive payments

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According to a recent study that was conducted by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), more than a quarter of chief information officers (CIOs) are confident that their organizations will receive payments under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) within the first year of the initiative.

The survey polled 198 CHIME members representing more than 650 hospitals and healthcare facilities. Of that figure, 13 percent claimed that their organizations had already been issued funding as part of the initiative, which was introduced in October 2010. A further 26 percent of CIOs surveyed said they remained confident that funds would be dispersed to their organizations.

According to Healthcare IT News, 93 percent of CIOs expect to receive meaningful use payments for HITECH and ARRA compliance within three years. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) meaningful use federal financial incentive aims to reward healthcare providers and facilities that migrate to medical informatics systems in order to improve the quality of patient care and reduce long-term costs.

Despite ongoing concerns regarding meeting CMS meaningful use criteria in adopting and implementing clinical informatics networks, the survey highlighted a trend of growing optimism. A similar study earlier this year indicated that 90 percent of CIOs were concerned with meeting the guidelines to qualify for payments under stage one of the meaningful use initiative. The recent CHIME report suggests that 66 percent of healthcare IT professionals are concerned with meeting the criteria for eligibility.

Gary Barnes, CIO of Medical Center Health System in Odessa, Texas, told the news source that meaningful use payments were important to the overall operational effectiveness of the facility. “The $1.5 million in stimulus payments are critical to Medical Center Health System, and are actually important in helping us to operate in the black,” he said.