Missouri, Kansas not to receive Medicare program

Wednesday, June 11, 2008 | 6:50 p.m. CDT; updated 3:51 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

KANSAS CITY — A federal Medicare pilot program aimed at encouraging physicians to use computerized patient records will not be coming to Kansas or Missouri.

Businesses and health care groups in the Kansas City area jointly applied for the program in May after being encouraged to do so during a February visit by Mike Leavitt, secretary of health and human services. They said they found out Tuesday that they were not one of the 12 states and U.S. communities chosen to participate.

Jim Hansen, chief executive officer of the CareEntrust health-information network in Kansas City, said members of the group were “disappointed” at not being selected but said it was beneficial to get all of the health care community sitting at one table.

“At our final meeting, the group agreed that the community should be using a forum such as this to tackle similar health care-related issues in the future,” Hansen said.

The five-year project will sign up 100 small- and medium-sized primary care physician practices in each chosen community, paying up to $58,000 per physician or $290,000 per practice to help offset the cost of switching from paper to computerized patient records.

Supporters claim electronic records improve overall health care as they make a patient’s complete health history, including tests and medication, immediately available to physicians over the Internet, cutting down on medical mistakes and costly duplication.

The communities chosen include Alabama; Delaware; Georgia; Maryland/Washington, D.C.; Maine; Louisiana; Oklahoma; Pittsburgh; South Dakota; Virginia; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Madison, Wis.

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