State Governments Join Push For Health IT
State governments around the country are working to facilitate, and in some cases, enhance, Washington's stimulus-funded incentives for doctors and hospitals that adopt new health information technology. "A group of the nation's governors and state officials has released a guide for state implementation of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act," the formal name for the portion of the stimulus bill, McKnight's Long-Term Care News reports. A key recommendation is that state leaders create health information exchanges so providers can readily share information to improve coordination of care (8/7).
Meanwhile, members of the National Lieutenant Governors Association called for support of "advance interoperable health IT and its adoption among providers" in a resolution this week, Modern Healthcare reports. They call on states to adopt systems with the stamp of approval of the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (DerGurahian, 8/6).
Louisiana went a step further with "a bill that would create a loan program for physicians and hospitals hoping to buy an electronic health record system," American Medical News reports. The state health department will seek other stimulus funding to seed the loans. The bill also will create the Louisiana Rural Health Information Exchange (Dolan, 8/6). (Other states, such as Maryland, have taken similar action in recent weeks).
At the local level, Florida officials are reviving two e-health projects in the Miami and Palm Beach areas to pursue the stimulus funding, the Sun-Sentinel reports. One project, run by the South Florida Health Information Exchange, had succeeded in digitizing the records for dozens of clinics and setting up protocols to share them with a local hospital, before funding dried up and the program became dormant (LaMendola, 8/6).