Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.) are expected to introduce legislation Thursday aimed at encouraging the use of information technology systems, becoming the latest lawmakers to do so. According to a draft version of the bill obtained by Modern Healthcare, it would duplicate initiatives put forward in other recently introduced health IT bills, including one by Sens. Hilary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). The Kennedy-Enzi legislation -- like the Clinton-Frist bill -- would statutorily authorize the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, created under executive order by President Bush. It is also similar to the Clinton-Frist bill in that it would create a new panel composed of members from the private and public sectors to identify national policies that would encourage health IT adoption. The Kennedy-Enzi bill would authorize $25 million in fiscal 2006 and $75 million the following year in competitive grants to providers to adopt IT systems. The bill also would authorize the HHS secretary to grant $50 million in 2006 and $100 million the following year to states to develop loan programs that encourage health IT adoption. -- by Tony Fong
More senators join in health IT push
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