Dim Prospects for HIT Legislation in 2007

According to today’s Kaiser Daily Health Report , CQ Healthbeat (Carey 3/28) is reporting that while health information technology legislation has broad support, Congressional aides have said that such legislation may be pushed aside in 2007 in favor of SCHIP reauthorization and Medicare physician reimbursement levels. Of course, Congress came close to passing HIT legislation last year, but the bills principally would have enshrined in law the existing HIT bureaucracy. Although providers cite implementation and maintenance costs as a significant barrier to health information technology use, the bills would not have resolved that problem.

On Wednesday, a House small business subcommittee held a hearing on the cost issue yesterday as it impacts small and solo medical practices. The subcommittee chairman plans to introduce a bill to provide tax incentives, subsidized loans and grants to small provider. Meanwhile, the American Health Information Community’s quality workgroup considered an AHRQ report suggesting the electronic medical records may produce cost savings by dramatically increasing the efficiency of collecting health care quality data.