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On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed into law a $789 billion economic stimulus package, known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or ARRA. Included in ARRA legislation is the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, also known as HITECH. HITECH allocates $19 billion to hospitals and physicians who demonstrate Meaningful Use of certified Electronic Medical Records.

HITECH also provides funds for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). Originally founded in 2004, this office oversees health information technology (HIT) standards, implementation strategies and impact assessment. The ONC has set goals for "the utilization of an Electronic Health Record for each person in the United States by 2014" and the development of a nationwide health information technology infrastructure that allows for the electronic use and exchange of medical information.

As HITECH is part of ARRA and not part of Health Care Reform, it is not currently under consideration for repeal by Congress. Funding for HITECH is allocated from ARRA to CMS.

What does HITECH mean to you?

Under HITECH, eligible physicians can qualify for financial incentives if they demonstrate Meaningful Use of a certified Electronic Medical Record system. Visit the CMS Eligibility Tool for a rapid assessment of your likely eligibility and to learn how you can be on the path to Meaningful Use and EHR incentive payments.