$100,000 on a new information technology system seems a
little too steep to you, a new offer from the Centers for
Medicare & Medicaid Services could be right up your
will offer physicians free access to a specially tailored
version of an electronic health record system called Vista,
which hospitals and other providers have been using with
the Department of Veterans Affairs for years, according
to an article in the July 21 New York Times. Starting Aug.
1, doctors will have access to the software as well as a
list of companies trained to install and maintain it.
Times article led to questions at a July 21 House Ways and
Means Health Subcommittee hearing on physician payments.
Rep. Jim McCrery (R-LA) asked how CMS' initiative would
dovetail "with the market's efforts to develop different
approaches that might be superior."
Vista system already has been available for free, but physicians
have found it challenging to install in their offices, explained
CMS Administrator Mark McClellan. "We're making the
installation process a bit easier." CMS won't discourage
practices from paying for a commercial system that may include
"additional bells and whistles" that they need,
McClellan added. CMS hopes to develop standards of interoperability
so the Vista system and proprietary solutions can work together,