HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

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Friday, June 17, 2005

Clinton & Frist Introduce Bipartisan IT Bill

To speed up IT utilization in healthcare, Senators Bill Frist and Hillary Clinton have introduced a bill (summary) that would establish legal safe harbors allowing hospitals and other organizations to extend their IT systems and allow data to be easily exchanged over a secure network.  According to Health Care IT News, the exceptions to federal Stark and anti-kickback laws would allow healthcare providers to share IT tools as long as they are used to exchange health information, as well as create standard quality measures to better assess the value of federal programs.  Modernhealthcare.com reports that the bill will provide $625 million over five years for regional and local healthcare information technology projects.   Supporters of the bill include AFL-CIO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp, American Medical Group Association, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, and the Joint Acreditation of Healthcare Organizations.  One aim of the bill is to legislatively codify the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in HHS.   A permanent IT standards work group made up of representatives from federal agencies and the private sector and chaired by the coordinator would adopt recommendations as standards for the federal government and voluntary data standards for the private sector.    See the analysis of the bill.   Clinton and Frist have said that IT's use in healthcare will eliminate inefficiency, reduce costs, and improve care.    This is one of several healthcare IT bills introduced in the Senate in the past week or so.  Thanks to law student research assistant Lindley Bain for her help on this post.  [tm]

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