June 18, 2009 – GE Healthcare this week launched its Stimulus Simplicity program, which offers healthcare providers interest-free loans with deferred payments to purchase electronic medical records (EMRs) and a certification warranty to ensure the EMRs will meet any guidelines set for meaningful use.
“Electronic medical records are designed to assist providers in improving patient outcomes, and reducing medical errors and costs,” said Vishal Wanchoo, president and CEO of GE Healthcare IT. “However, significant financial barriers are making healthcare providers hesitant to adopt the technology. Between the large upfront capital investment required in these challenging economic times and the uncertainty of the criteria to earn government incentive payments, small practices and facilities in rural areas and inner cities may decide the risks don’t outweigh the potential benefits. GE’s zero-interest interim funding and certification warranty provide doctors, community health clinics and hospitals a bridge to qualifying for stimulus funds and faster access to the improved care available through electronic medical record use.”
The new program focuses on GE’s Centricity EMR and Centricity Enterprise Solutions – the company’s integrated clinical, financial and administrative system that documents all aspects of patient care. GE’s financial services business, GE Capital, will provide the financing with GE Healthcare providing its EMR product certification warranty. GE Capital expects to make about $100 million available for the program.
Under the government’s stimulus provisions, federal funds won’t become available for EMRs until 2011 and the government has yet to set specific guidelines for determining what constitutes a “qualified” system.
GE said the Hazard Clinic, in the Appalachian region of Eastern Kentucky, is among the first to qualify for the interest-free loan to purchase the Centricity EMR solution. “This gives a small, rural clinic like ours a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring our patients the type of technology they’d typically have to travel for,” said Stephanie Wooton, Hazard Clinic administrator. “The case for EMR is clear and convincing. Yet, as a community-based organization, we likely wouldn’t have been able to transform our recordkeeping without this offer. Now, not only do we expect the Centricity EMR to save us money by increasing efficiencies, it will empower our staff to deliver the topnotch care our patients deserve. Frankly, that’s the most exciting part.”
By accelerating EMR and health information exchange adoption, GE expects to help remove $28 billion in cost from the health system while improving access to better and more affordable care.
“We can offer this attractive financing package because of the quality of GE’s EMR offering, the reduced credit risk due to anticipated customer reimbursement from the HITECH Act (contained in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009, or ARRA), and the opportunity this program creates for new customer relationships for our healthcare financial services business.”
When GE launched its new healthymagination business strategy last month, one of the key components was the commitment to provide financing for advancing healthcare solutions. The healthymagination initiative is a $6 billion commitment to improve access, affordability and quality of healthcare. Under the program GE supports the expanded use of healthcare IT to speed communications, while limiting variation and controlling costs. By accelerating EMR and health information exchange (HIE) adoption, GE expects to help remove $28 billion in cost from the health system while improving access to better and more affordable care.