5 Things to Know About the HITECH Act on Its 5th Birthday

The Health IT for Economic and Clinical Health Act was enacted Feb. 17, 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Five years later, the HITECH Act and its related initiatives continue to drive the advancement of health IT throughout the country.

1. The Act created the meaningful use program to foster the adoption of electronic health records. Currently, 93 percent of eligible hospitals have enrolled in the program.

2. The Act also authorized CMS to distribute incentive payments to encourage EHR adoption. To date, more than $19 billion in incentive payments have been distributed to eligible hospitals and providers.

3. The Act provided funding for the 62 Regional Extension Centers located throughout the country that help critical access hospitals, rural hospitals and other providers adopt health IT and attest to meaningful use.  

4. The Act requires all HIPAA-covered entities to report data breaches affecting more than 500 people. In 2013, 199 of these breaches were reported to HHS.

5. The Act also allocated funds to several other IT projects, including $500 million to improve technology within Indian Health Services facilities, $400 million for research into how the move to electronic data is impacting care and $300 million to support health information exchange efforts.

More Articles on the HITECH Act:

The Successes of Regional Extension Centers: 8 Takeaways
Top 5 Causes of Major Data Breaches in Past 6 Months
Health IT Implementation: How Complex Systems Turn Action Into the "Most Difficult Thing In the World"

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