Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Stimulus Plan and Medical Banking

By Mark Brousseau

Will the stimulus plan, which includes $19 billion for health IT, bring more widespread adoption and interest in medical banking platforms? Charlie Myers, director of operations, special programs and support, Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, based in Baltimore, MD, doesn’t think so.

“Unfortunately, when Washington talks about health information technology, they are talking about electronic medical records,” Myers said during a panel discussion at the Seventh National Medical Banking Summit in Nashville, TN. “Without some effort to go to Washington, D.C. and do some education on Capitol Hill, I don’t think a lot the stimulus plan dollars are going to come this way.”

Another panelist, Christine Smith, product manager-Remittance Solutions, WAUSAU Financial Systems, said, “While the stimulus package may not lead to more widespread adoption and interest in medical banking, I think that consumer-directed healthcare will. Physicians, particularly small ones, will need to become more competitive. And one of the big ways to reduce cost is to take some of the administrative cost out. That’s going to be the big driver of medical banking, not the stimulus plan.”

Laurie Holtsford, director of business office support, Community Healthcare Systems, Franklin, TN, said the stimulus plan could trigger partnerships between healthcare and banking organizations in that some providers may see medical banking as a way to meet rules and regulations without having to build out infrastructure: “I don’t see how providers can build this infrastructure themselves.”

What do you think? Post your comments below.

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