On one level, the meaningful use electronic record incentive program is all about the money. Many providers, especially small practices, jumped head first into the program because the financial incentives made it possible to automate at little or no cost-if they got those incentive checks.

Take Springfield (Ohio) Center for Family Medicine, where all six physicians have attested to meaningful use, with four by mid-July having received $18,000 first-year checks from the Medicare incentive program, and the other two awaiting payment.

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