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Highmark Recasts Health Tech Initiative

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A Pennsylvania health carrier says it will help pay for doctors in its hometown to upgrade their technology even if it cannot do so through a tax-exempt process.

Highmark Inc., Pittsburgh, says it will spend $29 million to help doctors buy and set up electronic prescribing and electronic health record systems.

Highmark first announced an earlier version of the effort in 2005. At that time, Highmark planned to provide the money through a community foundation.

The Internal Revenue Service has not yet ruled on whether a nonprofit foundation could give the money to for-profit doctors’ offices.

Highmark has decided to get around the delay by paying doctors directly, rather than trying to pay them through a foundation, the company says.

Highmark will pay up to 75% of the cost of acquiring a health technology system, up to a maximum of $7,000 per physician, the company says.