Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Pete Stark introduced H.R. 6898 entitled the “Health-e Information Technology Act.” Among other things, the Bill proposes the following action, which may not all be that particularly “healthy” for HIT adoption:
- Make the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) a permanent position that would manage the development, routine updating and dissemination of an open source health information technology system;
- Impose a “nominal” fee for adoption of the open source system by providers;
- Authorize ONC to develop a program for the voluntary certification and periodic recertification of health information systems (currently CCHIT already does this);
- Require a reexamination of “health care operations” to determine which activities should required patient authorization; and
- Increase civil penalties for violations of the HIPAA privacy rule.
However, other provisions of the Bill authorize grants and loans, as well as Medicare incentive payments, to encourage health IT adoption, which could encourage HIT adoption by providers who have been hesitant due to prohibitive costs. The Bill is currently being reviewed by the Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation.