America’s Health Insurance Plans is asking Congress to take a hard look at a bill that is supposed to encourage doctors, hospitals and other providers to make better use of information technology.
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted 270-148 Thursday to approve H.R. 4157, a health information technology bill introduced by Rep. Nancy Johnson, R-Conn.
The Senate passed a health information technology bill of its own in November 2005, and Senate Majority Leader William Frist, R-Tenn., a medical doctor, says he hopes a House-Senate conference committee will move quickly to reconcile differences between the 2 bills.
The bill was amended heavily while it was on the House floor.
Staffers at trade groups, consumer groups and elsewhere are poring over the version of the bill reported by the House to determine what provisions remain.
Advocates of the bill say it could help insurers increase the efficiency of their health insurance claim processing operations and lower overhead costs throughout the U.S. health care system, by encouraging health care organizations to use standard electronic formats to store patient data and communicate with other players in the health care system.
Karen Ignagni, president of AHIP, Washington, says Congress should take care to make sure the details in the final version of the bill do not make matters worse.