Monday, July 31, 2006

HR 4157: Health Information Technology Promotion Act of 2006

HR 4157, the Health Information Technology Promotion Act of 2006, was passed by the House on July 27, 2006. The bill promotes the use of health information technology to improve the safety and quality of the nation’s healthcare system.

Important to those groups, including West Virginia, looking at the barriers to health information technology adoption under the RTI funded Health Information Security & Privacy Collaborative (HISPC) is language requiring DHHS to study the impact of variation between state security and confidentiality laws and federal security andconfidentiality standards.

The legislation requires DHHS to report back to Congress within eighteen months whether “there is a need for greater commonality of the requirements of State security and confidentiality laws and current Federal security and confidentiality standards to better protect, strengthen, or otherwise improve the secure, confidential, and timely exchange of health information among States, the Federal government, and public and private entities.”

Also, the legislation calls for statutory exceptions in the Stark law (federal physician self-referral) and safe harbors to the Anti-Kickback Statute that would allow hospitals to supply physicians with HIT software and hardware used for the electronic exchange of clinical health information. Also, the bill requires adoption of International Classification Diseases (ICD)-10 codes sets by October 1, 2010.

The summary (as introduced) reads as follows:


Health Information Technology Promotion Act of 2005 - Amends the Public Health Service Act to add a new title II part D (Health Information Technology).

Establishes within the Department of Health and Human Services an Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

Directs the National Coordinator to: (1) maintain, direct, and oversee the continuous improvement of a strategic plan to guide the nationwide implementation of interoperable health information in both the public and private health care sectors; and (2) serve as the coordinator of federal government activities relating to health information technology.

Prescribes conditions under which any nonmonetary remuneration (in the form of health information technology and related training services) made by a hospital or a critical access hospital to a physician shall not be considered a prohibited payment (subject to civil and criminal penalties) made as an inducement to reduce or limit services to certain individuals.

Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to study and report to Congress on whether pertinent state laws and current federal standards should be conformed to create a single set of national standards to preserve and protect the security and confidentality of patient health information.

Amends SSA title XI to provide for establishment of uniform confidentality and security standards with respect to individually identifiiable patient health information.

Directs the Secretary to: (1) promulgate a final rule for upgrading specified Accredited Standards Committee X12 (ASC X12) and National Council For Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) Telecommunications standards and International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 9th revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) codes; and (2) develop a strategic plan related to the need for coordination in the area of health information technology.

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