House and Senate Agree on ARRA Provisions

On Wednesday, February 11, 2009, House and Senate conferees reconciled the House and Senate versions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment (ARRA) plan, or so-called Stimulus bill. The House and Senate are expected to approve the final version this week and send it to President Obama for his signature. The total of the stimulus is just over $789 billion. The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that “$19 billion is set aside for health information technology. Physicians would get bonuses of between $44,000 and $64,000—and hospitals would get as much as $11 million—if they show they have computerized their medical-records systems. On the stick side of the equation, the measure included Medicare payment penalties for physicians and hospitals who are not using electronic health records by 2014.” [p.A2] The Congress is completing a final version of ARRA; will outline and post the HITECH provisions of the bill signed by the President, as soon as they are available.

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