California Democrat Pete Stark has indicated he plans to introduce legislation that would hasten adoption of electronic health records in the US. The bill includes financial incentives for providers to adopt EHR technology and penalties for those who fail to comply after a grace period. The penalties are likely to take the form of docked Medicare payments, according to Congressional Quarterly Today.
Stark is the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee. Congress has approved two similar bills, but they do not impose penalties on non-compliant providers. The first is a Senate bill (S 1693) introduced by Ed Kennedy (D-Mass) Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. The second is a House bill (HR 6357) introduced by John Dingell (D-Mich), Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
It is late in the current legislative session. This means any delays marking up Stark’s bill, shepherding it through Ways and Means, or combining it with the Dingell bill will jeopardize its chances of being passed this year.