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ACP Supports Introduction of Frist-Clinton Health Information Technology and Quality Improvement Legislation

June 16, 2005

(Washington, DC): The American College of Physicians (ACP) congratulates Senators Bill Frist, MD (R-TN) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY) on their introduction of comprehensive health information technology and quality legislation to encourage the full-scale adoption of health information technology.

ACP strongly believes that an interoperable system health information technology (HIT) supporting such technologies as electronic health records, electronic prescribing, and clinical decision support tools will lead to a higher standard of quality in the U.S. health care system. Unfortunately, the costs of acquiring such technologies remain prohibitively expensive for most physician practices.

This legislation contains several provisions that will significantly improve the environment, allowing providers to move toward a full-scale adoption of HIT. Specifically the bill allows for:

  • Recognition and authorization of the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology;
  • Adoption of uniform, national health information standards;
  • Authorization of funding for grants encouraging the implementation of HIT; and
  • Creation of a safe harbor for entities providing equipment and other services for providers adopting HIT.

"The use of HIT can revolutionize health care by putting real-time clinically relevant patient information and up-to-date evidence-based clinical decision support tools in the hands of providers," said C. Anderson Hedberg, MD, FACP, president of ACP.

ACP also expressed support for encouraging reporting of quality measures and improvements but noted that such improvements are contingent on Congress providing adequate funding.

"We strongly believe that in order to achieve quality improvements based on the reporting of evidence-based measures, Congress must first guarantee the long-term financial stability of the Medicare physician payment system," continued Dr. Hedberg. "It is only through additional positive updates in Medicare payments that physicians will have the financial resources necessary to incorporate HIT into their practices and move toward a systematic process of reporting quality measures."

"ACP congratulates Senators Frist and Clinton on the introduction of legislation encouraging the adoption of HIT," said Dr. Hedberg. "We look forward to working with them to achieve the ultimate objective of improving the quality of health care for all Americans."

The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include more than 118,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection and treatment of illness in adults.

Jacquelyn Blaser, (202) 261-4572

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