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ACP Supports Introduction of the Health Information Technology Act of 2005

June 14, 2005

(Washington, DC): The American College of Physicians (ACP) congratulates Senator Debbie A. Stabenow (D-MI) and Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME) on the introduction of the "Health Information Technology Act of 2005."

ACP believes that this legislation takes a significant step toward the future expansion of universally accepted health information technology (HIT) standards, and provides important financial and reimbursement incentives for health care providers to acquire and use electronic health records and other technologies to improve patient care.

This bill would:

  • Authorize adjustments to the Medicare physician payment system when an identifiable medical service is provided by health care providers who use HIT to manage patients with chronic illnesses;
  • Create one-time funding for grants and tax deductions for health care providers to purchase and install electronic health record systems and other HIT devices;
  • Give funding priority to those health care providers whose patient population is significantly made of Medicare, Medicaid, and S-chip, and to those providers practicing in designated health professional shortage areas; and
  • Adopt uniform HIT standards within two years.

Experts agree that 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. Unfortunately, the costs of acquiring such technologies remain prohibitively expensive for most physician practices.

"An interoperable system 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," said C. Anderson Hedberg, MD, FACP, president of ACP.

"We believe that providing financial incentives for the adoption of HIT will achieve the ultimate objective of improving the quality of care for all Americans," said Dr. Hedberg. "This bill is a significant step toward achieving that goal."

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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