Pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers would have to report any gifts to doctors over $50 under a compromise version of a healthcare cost reform bill designed to slow soaring health spending in Massachusetts.
The bill also requires hospitals and doctors adopt a statewide electronic records-keeping system by 2015. It mandates hospitals report all hospital-acquired infections. The bill also bans them from charging for so-called never events such as wrong-site surgeries.
The Senate version of the bill had included an outright ban on all gifts from pharmaceutical companies to doctors, but the House stripped out the ban. The final version is seen as a compromise.
The bill was enacted by both branches and sent to Gov. Deval Patrick.
Senate President Therese Murray said the goal of the bill is to help slow spiraling healthcare spending that is threatening the future of the state's landmark 2006 healthcare law that requires nearly everyone in the state be insured.
Murray said healthcare spending in Massachusetts has soared from $46.5 billion in 2002 to $62.1 billion in 2003, a 33% jump in four years.
With this legislation we will install an impressive number of healthcare reforms, Murray said, unveiling the bill's final language on the last day of the Legislature's formal session. -- by the Associated Press