HOUSE PASSES HEALTH BILL WITH KEY HULSHOF PROVISION
The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4157, the Health Information Technology Promotion Act today, which includes key provisions authored by U.S. Congressman Kenny Hulshof (MO-09). The bill will help reduce medical errors and improve medical treatment and record keeping. The provisions Hulshof added to the bill are designed to promote telehealth technology.
"Health information technology has reached critical mass, which allows patients in small towns gain access to the best care possible, regardless of where they live," said Hulshof. "This bill allows us to take full advantage of the cutting-edge technology that is available. That will result in better quality of care and better access to that care."
The Institute of Medicine estimates that 1.5 million Americans become ill or are injured or killed each year because of medical errors. The Health Information Technology Promotion Act will help address this problem by paving the way for e-prescribing systems and other advanced technology.
Hulshof's provision is based upon freestanding legislation that he introduced earlier this year, H.R. 2807, the Medicare Telehealth Enhancement Act. It 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.
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.
"Tapping into this technology will give patients throughout Missouri access to a variety of specialists, without having to take valuable time away from work, school or parental duties to travel," Hulshof said. "This is a big win for patients, doctors and community hospitals."