Health IT: Slipping on Hill Agenda?

While both parties on Capitol Hill maintain a strong interest in passing a health care information technology bill, other legislative priorities and a lack of funding could delay or prevent action this year, congressional aides said Monday.
Reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), dealing with a scheduled 10 percent cut in Medicare payments to physicians, and oversight of the Medicare prescription drug benefit are among the health care issues that will likely dominate this year’s legislative agenda according to the aides, who asked not to be identified.
Speakers at a Capitol Hill forum sponsored by Erickson Retirement Communities said matters will be further complicated by differences in past House and Senate approaches to the legislation, such as disagreements over anti-kickback language and the time frame for implementation of new health care billing codes known as ICD-10. There also may be splits over whether to provide federal grants encouraging providers to use “health IT” and how to ensure the privacy of consumers’ data.
“I’m not sure how far we’re going to get moving towards health IT” this year, one aide said, citing time and money as major obstacles. Another aide added, “We remain optimistic Congress can move health IT legislation this year or next year.”
{The polls cited in this story show again that consumers remain very concerned about both security issues (data theft) and privacy issues (use of personal health information by employers and insurers without consent). ~ Dr. Deborah Peel, Patient Privacy Rights}

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