Long Term Care Missing Out on EMR Stimulus Money

Posted on September 22, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

A short while back I posted about my interest in the long term care EMR market. From that post I’ve started a number of really interesting discussions. It’s been quite enlightening and fun for me to learn about the long term care market since I was previously unfamiliar with the details.

One thing that kind of strikes me about the long term care EMR market is that it doesn’t seem to me that their going to be getting any help from the EMR stimulus money that everyone’s talking about. At least if my assumptions are correct. Since the EMR stimulus money is going to be paid out per provider, it seems like most long term care facilities are going to not be eligible since they’re nurse run and not provider (doctor) run. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong in this assumption.

Certainly, there is the possibility that ONC and HHS might make some of the other ARRA money they received available as grants to the long term care market for purchase of an EMR. However, that is still yet to be seen.

This is rather unfortunate for long term care facilities. I think we can safely say that healthcare’s use of technology is behind almost every other industry. Low EMR adoption rates are evidence of this fact. With that said, from what I’ve read and seen long term care facilities are even farther behind on their adoption of technology. Sadly, if long term care facilities aren’t getting any EMR stimulus money, then it’s possible they will lag behind even farther in adoption of healthcare IT.

Are there any other specialty areas or healthcare segments that are going to miss out on the EMR stimulus money as well?

UPDATE: One reader of my site sent the following additional information and questions: “Nursing Homes overall are considered as a provider. The Nursing Home is issued a Provider Number (not the administrator) and is used for billing purposes and reimbursement purposes. When the Feds say that providers are going to get stimulus money through grants does this mean that LTC facilities are excluded? Who knows at this time. What is the difference between an individual Provider and a Facility as a Provider? I can’t answer this. Only the Feds know at this time.”

I’ve talked to some other Long Term Care EMR companies and they have the same questions. Looks like the problem is that we just don’t know. Although, I’d argue that it’s likely that the Feds don’t know yet either.