AHIMA Jobs Initiative Calls for Tax Credits for Employers That Train HIT Professionals

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A jobs initiative announced Oct. 3 by one of the country's top health information technology groups is calling for tax credits for employers that train information management professionals to work in health care environments increasingly moving toward electronic health records.

The American Health Information Management Association said its “HIM Jobs for America” initiative could serve as a cornerstone for jobs creation in the health IT sector. The initiative also meets jobs creation standards set forth in President Obama's jobs bill unveiled last month, the group said.

The legislative platform of the AHIMA initiative calls for tax credits to employers that train health information management professionals in core skills needed to transition to integrated EHR systems and to train or retrain employees to contribute to the development and operations of EHR environments.

AHIMA said it already has several workforce development programs in place that would allow employers to begin implementing such training and take advantage of tax credits if they were available.

Credit for Passing Competency Exams.

The initiative also calls for allowing employers to receive credit for employees who pass competency exams already developed by AHIMA as part of its Health Information Technology Professional program.

“AHIMA wants to build a partnership with business, academia and the federal government to create the estimated 40,000 jobs required to properly build and maintain a national electronic health record initiative,” AHIMA Vice President Bill Rudman said in a news release.

AHIMA/HHS Partner to Train Physicians in Underserved Areas.

AHIMA simultaneously announced a partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services and North Shore Medical Labs Inc. that it called an example of how public-private partnerships can provide employment opportunities for health IT workers while improving uptake of EHR systems among health care providers.

As part of the demonstration program, AHIMA will provide health IT training to physicians and their staff in underserved areas of Alabama, Mississippi, and North Carolina. North Shore Medical Labs will donate the EHR technology and services to the providers through Nortec Software Inc.

AHIMA said the deal is aimed at supporting jobs growth as well as improving health care for underserved patient populations.