Health IT political pressure heats up

June 22, 2007

While Congress considers various bills to promote health IT, interest groups are exerting pressure on the government to do something about the low level of computerization in health care.

While Congress considers various bills to promote health IT (InfoTech Bulletin, June 8), interest groups are exerting pressure on the government to do something about the low level of computerization in health care. The Divided We Fail coalition of the AARP, the Business Roundtable, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is calling for Congress to pass legislation that includes health IT standards as well as "grants, loans, or tax credits for providers to assist in the purchase of interoperable health IT systems."

Meanwhile, former Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT) and former Sen. John Breaux (D-LA) have helped form a new coalition of patient advocacy, provider and employer groups called Health IT Now! This organization, too, is demanding that Congress promote the rapid deployment of health IT. Among the things the federal government should do, the coalition says, is to provide incentives to "practitioners of care to facilitate the adoption of health IT, and for communities, states, and other entities to plan HIT components and develop Health Information Exchanges."

The coalition includes the American Academy of Nursing, the American Society for Clinical Oncology, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Retail Federation, and Verizon, among others.

x