DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2006 -- (House of Representatives - June 23, 2005)
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Mr. JINDAL. Mr. Chairman, I rise today to request that in lieu of offering my amendment, which will provide that a small portion of the $50 million in health information technology grants that are already allocated to the agency for health care research and quality are designated to small and rural hospitals to implement bedside bar-coded medication technology, that we agree to work together to achieve improvements in health care quality by implementing technology initiatives in our small and rural hospitals.
Mr. Chairman, quality of health care is the driving force for implementing technological changes in the administration of medications in hospitals. More than one-third of adverse drug events occur during the administration to patients.
The estimated cost of preventable errors in the inpatient setting is a staggering $2 billion annually. Hand-held devices that scan bar codes on medication bags, patient wristbands, and nurse badges can help eliminate those errors by tracking medical information and alerting hospital staff before a mistake is made.
In fact, a study by the University of Wisconsin shows that medication-dispensing errors can be reduced from 1.43 percent 0.13 percent with the use of bar code technology. Unfortunately, the penetration of these devices is small. Less than 10 percent of hospitals have implemented such systems.
The second driving force for implementing bar code technology is cost. The cost burden relative to the ever-rising demand for health care is not going to be met without implementing technological advancements in health care organizations.
The United States spends over $1.2 trillion a year on health care. We could have a dramatic impact on reducing the amount of paperwork on the administrative side by using bar code technology that automatically captures patient data and eliminates some of the costly administrative burdens that take hospital staff away from patient care.
Moreover, the quality of life in rural America depends on having access to quality, affordable health care.
Mr. Chairman, will you agree to work with me to improve the quality of health care in small and rural hospitals as this bill moves forward in the legislative process?
Mr. REGULA. Yes. I thank the gentleman for bringing this important issue to my attention and to the attention of the House of Representatives.
I agree that the quality of health care in rural America is an important issue. And regrettably in a tight fiscal environment, some reductions have been made to rural health care programs. I look forward to working with the gentleman to help find funding streams from which to draw from to help improve the technology available to patients of health care providers in rural America.
Mr. JINDAL. I thank the gentleman.
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