HULSHOF LAUDS SUBCOMMITTEE PASSAGE OF HEALTH INFORMATION TECH BILL
The Health Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee has passed landmark legislation dealing with health information technology (IT). H.R. 4157, The Health Information Technology Promotion Act, includes an amendment from U.S. Congressman Kenny Hulshof (MO-09) that is based upon his freestanding legislation, H.R. 2807, the Medicare Telehealth Enhancement Act.
"Greater use of information technology in health care will dramatically improve the safety and quality of health care delivered to Americans," stated Hulshof after the vote. "The passage of this bill would be a big boost for patients, and a win for doctors and our community hospitals."
Hulshof's amendment directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to coordinate licensure of physicians across state lines, which will bolster the use of telehealth technology. The amendment also directs the Secretary to conduct two studies: one on Store and Forward technology, the other on expanding sites from which telehealth visits can originate.
"Patients in Missouri are already taking advantage of this cutting edge technology," Hulshof said. "Telehealth allows patients in rural areas to have access to the best doctors and the best treatment possible. Geography should not be the final determinant on the quality of care delivered to patients."
Telehealth, or telemedicine, is the practice of using the latest communication and information technology. In essence, it is a healthcare delivery tool, which allows for movement of data rather than patients. Currently in Missouri, over 8,000 patients have used the Missouri Telehealth Network and it is estimated that over 40,000 radiology exams have been performed.
Health Subcommittee Chair Nancy Johnson praised Hulshof's amendment. "This bill, with the addition of Congressman Hulshof's amendment, will enhance the quality of care given to patients and save taxpayer dollars," she said. "I thank my colleague from Missouri for advocating on behalf of this important new technology, which will positively impact patients and doctors."