The new bill (HR 4157) to promote the use of health care information technology gained traction last week when it was approved via voice vote by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health.
Sponsored by Reps. Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.) and Nathan Deal (R-Ga.), the new legislation would:
o establish safe harbors for health care providers to equip referrers with health care IT;
o create a committee to make recommendations on national standards for medical data storage, and
o develop a permanent structure to govern national interoperability standards.
The bill would also codify the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology within HHS and clarify that current medical privacy laws are applicable to electronic data.
The subcommittee removed two contentious provisions from the legislation, one of which would have increased the number of codes from 24,000 to 200,000 and one of which would have given federal medical privacy laws dominance over state laws.