Mixed reviews for Leavitt’s IT statement

Not surprisingly, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, the Chicago-based trade group for healthcare information technology developers and users, supports the call yesterday by HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt for Congress to tack a healthcare IT adoption mandate onto pending legislation to the annual, year-end fix of the Medicare physician payment system
Dave Roberts, HIMSS vice president of government relations, said with a key House IT booster bill, the Healthcare Information Technology Enterprise Integration Act, stalled and the Wired for Health Care Quality Act still under negotiation in the Senate because of challenges over privacy, security and healthcare quality provisions, “It looks like the Medicare fix might have some opportunity for providing healthcare IT legislation” in the near term.
Discussions on that legislation are under way with a decision on final language expected tomorrow in the Senate Finance Committee. Roberts said that committee members Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) “would like to put some HIT or e-prescribing language into that legislation.”
There has been a lot of talk about the government investing only in electronic-prescribing systems, Roberts said, but HIMSS has been lobbying members of Congress that a boost be given to a wider spectrum of healthcare IT.
Still, he said, “We support any legislation that encourages the use of IT to transform healthcare.”
{HHS Secretary Leavitt calls for privacy-destructive health technology legislation to be tacked on to the annual ‘must-pass’ bill to fix Medicare’s pay cuts. Leavitt wants Congress to legalize the multi-billion dollar/year health data mining industry by passing “Wired” (S. 1693), instead of restoring Americans’ rights to control access to electronic health records, which is what the public wants. Leavitt’s plan would force physician groups to support unethical data mining and theft of patients’ health records by over 4 million health-related businesses and government agencies. What an interesting tactic: make doctors choose between getting paid for treating the elderly or standing up for the ethical use of electronic health records as required by the AMA Code of Medical Ethics and the Hippocratic Oath.~Dr. Deborah Peel, Patient Privacy Rights}

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