Monday, June 20, 2005

Senate Bill 1262: Health Technology to Enhance Quality Act of 2005

Bill Frist's office released the following press release on Senate Bill 1262 introduced on June 16, 2005 by Senator Frist and Senator Clinton. The bill going by the acronym "Health TEQ Act" appears to be the next push fromCongress to make good on the federal government's to push for the national interoperability of electronic medical record standards.

Here is a unofficial text of Senate Bill 1262. Thanks to Alan S. Goldberg, a colleague and moderator for the HIT Listserve of the American Health Lawyer Association, for providing a link to the bill.

Press release:
June 16th, 2005 - WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D. (R-TN) and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) today introduced the “Health Technology to Enhance Quality Act of 2005” (Health TEQ) at a press conference at George Washington University Hospital. The bipartisan legislation creates an interoperable health information technology (IT) system through the adoption of standards that will help reduce costs, enhance efficiency and improve overall patient care.

“This innovative legislation will help launch America’s transition away from outmoded pen-and-pad medicine by encouraging the creation of an interoperable, secure and technology-based system of medical care,” said Frist. “Grounding our health care in information technology can cut out waste and redundancies that drive up costs, hamper efficiency and cause medical errors. I’m proud of this bold, bipartisan and forward-thinking legislation. It will generate meaningful action that confronts tomorrow’s health care challenges, and help ensure high quality health care is available and affordable for all Americans.”

“This legislation marries technology and quality to create a seamless, efficient health care system for the 21st century,” said Clinton. “By creating national interoperability standards, we will give health care providers the confidence that an investment in health IT is an investment in the future.”

The Health Technology to Enhance Quality Act of 2005 implements health information technology standards that would guide the design and operation of interoperable health information systems. The legislation codifies the Office of National Coordinator for Information Technology and establishes standards for the electronic exchange of health information. The bill also authorizes grants to local and regional consortiums to implement health information technology infrastructure that is compliant with national standards and establishes measures to assess the quality of care. Finally, it establishes standard quality measures to better assess the value of federal programs.

Senators Frist and Clinton are cosponsoring this legislation along with Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL), Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Senator Jim Talent (R-MO) and Senator Barack Obama (D-IL).

This legislation is endorsed by over 20 organizations including the National Partnership for Women and Families, the National Federation of Independent Business and the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society. A complete listing of supporters is attached to this release.

More information on the bill:

Click here for a brief summary of the bill located on Senator Frist's website.

Click here for a section-by-section analysis of the legislation located on Senator Frist's website..

Click here for a list of organizations supporting the Health TEQ Act.

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