Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Farzad Mostashari and I wrote a short white paper urging a more direct link between Federal HIT incentive funds and regional HIT extension centers (Farzad deserves the lion's share of credit for taking this idea and running with it). Pretty straight-forward idea, really -- rather than just handing out $18 billion in cash to providers, funnel those funds through an infrastructure that will protect the government's investment by ensuring that adoption happens efficiently, effectively, and with public benefit in mind. You'd think this would be a no-brainer after our recent experience with the $350 billion bank give-away, but so far, the concept hasn't made it's way into the stimulus package.

The letter has gotten almost 60 signatures from individuals and groups across 26 states, including some prominent national organizations such as the eHealth Initiative, NCQA, National Partnership for Women & Families, and Pacific Business Group on Health. It's also gotten a fair amount of attention. It was featured on iHealthBeat, John Halamka wrote about it in his blog, and it was also picked up by the New York Times. Thanks to everyone who co-signed it......hopefully somebody up there is listening!


Johnnysmooth said...

I remain unconvinced that RHIOs will do a better job of allocating that $18B as most can't even develop a functioning business model nor plans that are cost effective. $50M spent in MA to connect 3 communities, kind of. No, let's not go down that path.

Written by Micky Tripathi said...

Hi Johnnysmooth,

I totally agree with you. I've never said that RHIOs should be at the center of this, and indeed, neither MAeHC nor PCIP are RHIOs.

As for your comment on budget, if the future cost was going to be $50M for every 3 communities, I wouldn't do it either. Fortunately, it's not. I corrected you on this exact point in your comment to my blog entry of Jan 19.

We estimate that the cost of completing MA would be ~$400M. Why's that? Simple scale economies and learning effects at work here -- the initial $50M paid for fixed costs and learning that can now be spread across the remaining communities. Nothing magic there -- just Economics 101.

Please give us a call if you'd like to learn more.

As always, thanks so much for your comments!