HHS, Congress begin push for health care IT

The Health and Human Services Department and House and Senate lawmakers last week kicked off campaigns to press for adoption of health care IT.

Reps. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) and Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) introduced the 21st Century Health Information Act that would provide funding through grants and loans to support the start-up of regional health networks and physician investments in administrative and clinical technology.

It also calls for interoperability standards and provisions to let hospitals help fund physicians' IT adoption.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) are expected to introduce similar Senate legislation in about three weeks, Kennedy said.

IT systems and applications will improve the safety, efficiency and coordination of health care, and reduce costs, Murphy said.

David Brailer, the nation's health IT coordinator in HHS, said he will soon release a report on the points industry agrees on to advance health IT interoperability and set standards.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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