A Cure for the Problem Geneva Doctors May Get Grant for Electronic Medical Records

Article excerpt

Byline: Anna Marie Kukec Daily Herald Business Writer

akukec@@dailyherald.com

Physicians in and around the city of Geneva could be among the contenders for thousands of dollars in federal grants - if they convert to electronic records management software.

Kerry Weems, acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in Washington, D.C., and other federal officials visited Delnor-Community Hospital in Geneva on Wednesday to talk with about 30 medical professionals about the new technology.

Electronic record keeping isn't new. Many major hospitals, including Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, have converted. But those hospitals cannot access patient information electronically from area physicians because many of them cannot afford the new technology.

If Geneva is among 12 communities selected for the federal program, then each physician could receive up to $58,000, or each multi-physician practice up to $290,000, in federal funding over five years.

"Physicians, especially in small- and mid-size practices, are slower to adopt," Weems said during an interview. "We found the adoption rate is only 10 percent, which means 90 percent have not adopted. So we're going after that sweet spot."

The incentives are part of President Bush's initiative to get doctors online by 2014. The administration has been touting the advantages of secured electronic record systems to help improve medical care for about 3.6 million people nationwide. …