Money matters

A post last month that listed the salary range for a job opening at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology resulted in a comment that the $109,808 to $165,200 salary won’t make anybody rich in the pricey Washington area. OK, fair enough. The job as deputy coordinator does not require a medical degree, but a physician with informatics training certainly could make a lot more money in the private sector. Case in point is this entry on the Physician Salaries USA blog from last week.

Good stuff, right? Well, if you read either For The Record or Health Executive, you would have known that chief medical information officers tend to be well-compensated for their high-level expertise and long hours. I mention these publications purely in a self-serving manner, as I wrote recent pieces on the role of the CMIO in each of these magazines. My Health Executive story is in the January 2007 issue. In the case of For The Record, check the Sept. 18, 2006 edition.

Now that I’ve dispensed with the gratuitous self-promotion, some other money-related news caught my eye last week: the $103.6 million in federal grants awarded to 27 state Medicaid programs. Nearly every project funded in this Medicaid Transformation Grants initiative is related to information technology. Connecticut will receive $5 million for e-prescribing and health information exchange. Hawaii has been granted nearly $3.2 million to implement an OpenVista ASP network. Michigan and Massachusetts each are getting several million dollars to automate vital records. For details on the grants, click here.

From what I can gather, this is the first large-scale, nationwide push for IT in Medicaid.

HHS says it will award an additional $46.4 million later this year to complete the $150 million program authorized by the 2005 Deficit Reduction Act. The solicitation has not gone out yet.