Health IT Bill Approved
The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health on Wednesday voted 8-5 to approve a bill (HR 4157) that would promote the use of health care IT and establish national standards on privacy and implementation of electronic health records, CQ Today reports.
The legislation, sponsored by subcommittee Chair Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.) and Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.), would codify the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT within HHS and would establish a committee to make recommendations on national standards for medical data storage and develop a permanent structure to govern national interoperability standards.
Prior to approval, the subcommittee voted 8-4 to defeat an amendment by Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) that would have required the HHS secretary to establish interoperability standards within two years of enactment of the legislation and would have required Medicare providers to meet the standards by 2015 or lose reimbursements.
The subcommittee also voted 8-5 to defeat an amendment sponsored by Emanuel and Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) that would have expanded medical privacy laws. In addition, the subcommittee by voice vote defeated an amendment sponsored by Rep. Mike Thomson (D-Calif.) that would have provided funds to help Medicare providers to purchase health IT systems to meet interoperability standards (Schuler, CQ Today, 5/24).