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SPECIAL AUDIO REPORT: Medi-Cal Will Be a Guiding Force in Expanding Health IT

In an interview with California Healthline, Ann Boynton, undersecretary of the Health and Human Services Agency, said one of the challenges of implementing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s (R) health care information technology plan will be ensuring that Medi-Cal providers have access to electronic health records. Medi-Cal is California’s Medicaid program.

Boynton said the degree to which Medi-Cal providers adopt EHRs likely will hinge on the level of incentives they receive to adopt the technology. In the future, EHR use could be tied to Medi-Cal reimbursement rates, she said.

Officials still are determining how to best allocate the $240 million Schwarzenegger has designated for health IT goals, she said.

“So we’ll be establishing a commission to look at specifically the financing issue and get some sense of where is there a need within the marketplace that has to be supported,” Boynton said. The commission will consider both public and private funding sources, she said (Rebillot, California Healthline, 2/15).

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