Rodham Clinton, Frist To Introduce Bill To Establish Health Care Information Technology Network
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) on Wednesday announced a plan to introduce a bill that would establish a health information technology network to improve access to medical information, the New York Daily News reports (Bazinet, New York Daily News, 6/16). According to CQ HealthBeat, the bill would require the federal government to adopt interoperability standards for health care IT applications and make such standards voluntary for the private sector.
The bill also would create an exemption in existing federal law to allow providers and insurers to give health IT equipment to physicians provided that the equipment is intended to reduce medical errors, improve quality or lower costs. The bill authorizes $125 million in federal funding to local or regional collaborations of health care providers for the development of health care IT standards.
Under the bill, the HHS secretary must establish a "value-based purchasing pilot program" under Medicare to facilitate the reporting of data on health care quality and performance-based payments to providers. The HHS secretary after two years could expand the pilot program to the rest of the country. Clinton and Frist plan to provide details of the measure on Thursday at a news conference in Washington, D.C. (CQ HealthBeat, 6/15).