Senate Approves Bill To Promote Use of Health Care IT Applications
The Senate on Friday passed a bill (S 1418) that would promote the use of health care information technology to help prevent medical errors and reduce costs, CQ Today reports.
The legislation, sponsored by Senate Help, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chair Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), includes provisions of a bill (S 1355) co-sponsored by Enzi and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and a second bill (S 1262) co-sponsored by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.).
The bill would authorize into statute an Office of the National Coordinator of Information Technology within HHS. Under the legislation, HHS would award grants to hospitals, group physician practices and other health care providers to help increase the use of health IT systems. The bill also would clarify that current medical privacy rules would apply to health information stored or sent electronically(Schuler, CQ Today, 11/18).