Health Data Management reported yesterday that Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey will commit up to $500,000 to help select hospitals in its New Jersey network adopt electronic medication history technology. This would give physicians real-time medication histories when patients check into a hospital or emergency department. Under the program, Horizon will pay for 85% of the costs of the technology up to $40,000 for each hospital. Horizon expects up to eight hospitals to join its subsidy program by the end of the year.
I would assume that the Horizon’s subsidy program for hospitals would need to comply with the requirements under the EHR safeharbor to assure that the arrangement is not found as potentially violating the federal Anti-kickback Statute. Under the safeharbor, a health plan is a protected donor, and a hospital a protected recipient, but several additional requirements must be met in addition to the hospital paying for 15% of the cost of the technology. It does not appear that the subsidy program would need to meet the equivalent Stark Exception where the recipients of the technology will be limited to hospitals, and so the Stark prohibition on physicians’ self-referrals should not be triggered.