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Senate Committee Issues Report for Health IT Bill
Early last week, the Senate HELP Committee issued its report for S. 1693, the "Wired for Health Care Quality Act of 2007," which the committee approved in June by voice vote.
The committee report, Senate Report 110-187, includes a section-by-section analysis and legislative history of the bill, a CBO cost estimate, a regulatory impact statement, and other information about this legislation. The release of this report means that S. 1693 is one step closer to seeing Senate floor action, although the sponsors are continuing to discuss possible changes to this legislation. Also, the crowded Senate calendar may be an obstacle to consideration of this bill – unless an agreement is reached to pass the bill by unanimous consent without any amendments.
S. 1693 would establish a public-private Partnership for Health Care Improvement, which would make recommendations on standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria for the electronic exchange of health information. The bill also would direct the HHS Secretary to designate a private, nonprofit entity to act as a voluntary consensus standards-setting organization to promote the development of health care quality measures. Other provisions would provide for the development of quality and efficiency reports based on federal health care data and publicly available private data and, additionally, authorize federal funding for three new grant programs to facilitate the widespread adoption and use of health information technology.