But Governor Daugaard has had no problem handing out an extra $19,340,218.57 in extra Medicaid money from President Obama to South Dakota hospitals, doctors, and other caregivers. That's the amount of federal money, as of August 7, that the South Dakota Department of Social Services disbursed through its Electronic Health Record Incentive Payment Program. This money comes to South Dakota courtesy of the HITECH Act of 2009, which Congress folded into the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—yes, our friend the 2009 stimulus.
So far 29 of South Dakota's 50 hospitals have received EHR incentive payments as a reward for adopting, implementing, and/or upgrading computerized record-keeping methods. Such rewards are money well-spent: electronic health records are good medicine, as demonstrated by the pioneering Veterans Health Administration.
The spreadsheet I received yesterday from DSS also shows 216 individual health care providers who have received EHR incentive payments. They include:
- 76 physicians
- 68 pediatricians
- 37 nurse practitioners
- 5 certified nurse midwives
- 7 dentists
- 24 physician assistants.
The first payments DSS lists went out on March 23, 2012, to the Mobridge hospital ($646,400), two physicians, ten pediatricians, and two NPs. A steady stream of disbursements has followed, including, on May 2, 2013, a payment of $21,250 to Annette Marie Bosworth.
Yes, the Annette Marie Bosworth who, one month and one day later, let leak her first public mention of her intent to run for Senate as a Republican determined to fight government involvement in health care.
Republicans from Governor Daugaard to candidate Bosworth understand the GOP drill: fulminate against federal money, but take all the money Uncle Sam offers.