Yesterday President Obama signed the much touted stimulus bill into law.  Although not much is publicly being said about health care reform yet, sweeping changes to the health care system are quietly taking place. In fact, over $150 billion of the stimulus bill funds are earmarked for health care related projects. In no particular order, these include:

   • Comparative Effectiveness Research to compare treatment effectiveness ($1.1 billion)

   • Support for State Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program Programs ($87 billion) 

   • Investment in Health Information Technology ($19 billion) 

   • Medical Research Funding through the U.S. National Institutes of Health ($10 billion) 

   • Federal Support for COBRA ($25 billion)

Many of these change can be expected to have an impact on the way physicians practice medicine (and in particular the information technology provisions since they include incentives for physician compliance).  Accordingly Physicians need to keep a sharp eye on the changes that are taking place and should begin retooling to best take advantage of what will undoubtedly be a very different playing field in just a few short years.