Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pro(tech)t Act update

The House Energy and Commerce Committee cleared by voice vote a modified version of the Pro(tech)t Act, H.R. 6357, that would complicate health plan use of electronic medical records by injecting a consent requirement, would formally extend certain HIPAA requirements and penalties to business associates, would create requirements for handling security breaches by covered entities and business associates, and would begin to expand the scope of HIPAA. A article discusses other new privacy and security requirements found in the bill. The bill also would provide financial incentives to health care providers that adopt electronic medical record technology according to Modern Healthcare Online. (Bear in mind that the bill is 107 pages long.)

The bill also is pending with the House Ways and Means Committee and the Science and Technology Committee. As I mentioned on Sunday, there is not much time to enact legislation in this election year. I don't think that it will happen but the $560 million now on the table for the docs may cause the AMA to push hard for this bill.

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