Kennedy Introduces Bill to Establish ‘Strict’ IT Standards for Health Care Organizations
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) this week introduced legislation that would require health care organizations to meet "strict" information technology standards to help reduce administrative costs and improve clinical outcomes, Reuters reports. The Efficiency in Health Care Act, or eHealth Act, would establish mandatory IT guidelines for insurance claims processing and care delivery applications. The bill would provide $100 million in matching grants to help hospitals upgrade their IT systems and implement e-prescribing systems required under the legislation and would establish standards for electronic prescribing systems as part of an effort to reduce medical errors. The legislation would require insurers to launch Internet-based claims processing systems and achieve a 99% accuracy rate for claims processing to reduce administrative health care costs. Insurers also would have to make information about billing procedures available to consumers (Zwillich, Reuters, 6/20). Kennedy said in a speech earlier this week that savings from meeting the standards could be used to finance universal health care (California Healthline, 6/19). The eHealth Act is one of several initiatives that Kennedy outlined in the speech (Reuters, 6/20). For more iHealth & Technology stories, visit iHealthBeat.org, a new Web publication sponsored by the California HealthCare Foundation.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.