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Legislation Could Help Small and Solo Physician Practices Buy EMRs

07.02.2009

If you’re in a small or solo physician practice that’s looking to buy an electronic medical record (EMR) system, help could soon be on the way in the form of a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan. Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper, D-Pa., chair of a House Small Business subcommittee on health care, offered a bill that would create a new Small Business Administration loan program to help qualifying doctors buy and maintain medical-records technology and train employees to use it. The program would rely on private-sector loans of up to $350,000 for individuals and $2 million for groups, with 90% of it backed by the SBA.

Costs can be a barrier. Rob Jackson, Chief Executive of Grove City Medical Center, in Grove City, Pa., testified that doctors might have to spend upwards of $50,000 to install an electronic medical records system, and shell out more to keep it running. Dahlkemper estimated average start-up costs of $32,000 per doctor, with upgrades adding about $18,000 a year. For the average three-doctor medical practice, she said the tab could be around $100,000.

[Source:  Judith Burns, Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES]

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