Legislation Would Promote Electronic Health Records
Rep. Jon Porter (R-Nev.) on Thursday plans to introduce a bill that would promote the use of electronic health records in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, the Washington Post reports.
Under the legislation, which Rep. William Clay (D-Mo.) has agreed to co-sponsor, health insurers that participate in FEHBP could use a small percentage of the financial reserves of the program to cover the cost of EHR implementation without an increase in premiums.
The EHRs would use a personal identification number to ensure their security. The bill would encourage physicians to invest in EHRs through a trust fund controlled by the Office of Personnel Management, which administers FEHBP.
The legislation also would allow private groups to contribute to the trust fund, which would issue grants to help physicians and others implement EHR systems. HHS would help draft rules for the operation of the trust funds.
Porter said that the bill could prompt health insurers to provide EHRs for their members in the private sector. "They just need the encouragement to take it to the next step. This should help families all over the country ... whether they are in the federal program or not," Porter said (Barr, Washington Post, 3/2).