Friday, January 7, 2011

UK, Central Baptist get millions in federal incentives to use electronic health records

University of Kentucky HealthCare and Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington are the first hospital systems in the United States to receive funds from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' electronic health records incentive program.

UK received $2.8 million, Central Baptist $1.3 million, according to a press release from the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Kentucky is one of only four states to begin receiving the federal dollars, which are meant to encourage hospitals and physicians to transition to computerized patient records. The funds are part of the 2009 economic-stimulus legislation.

Another 25 Kentucky providers have started the application process. In the next four years, Kentucky hospitals should receive more than $100 million in incentive funds, the release states. "Electronic records can do so much to improve efficiency, reduce medical error and, ultimately, change the face of the American health care system," Gov. Steve Beshear said.

Kentucky is among the first to receive the funding because its providers were "farthest along in the process in moving down the path to adopting these types of systems," said Beth Fisher, spokeswoman for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. "This means we're pretty far ahead than a lot of other states." (Read more from Business First; for the original press release, go here.)

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