House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, chastised his fellow legislators Sunday for voting on a healthcare reform bill they haven't even read.
So following Sunday's passage by the House of the historic legislation, members of the IT community are still in the information acquisition mode about the possible IT implications of the bill.
Steve Waldren, director of the American Academy of Family Physicians' Center for Health Information Technology, said his focus has been on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, also known as the stimulus bill, and its meaningful-use criteria physicians must meet to qualify for their share of an estimated $14.1 billion to $27.3 14 billion in federal EHR subsidies.
Waldren said he and the AAFP's Washington, D.C., legislative experts will be combing through the final version of the legislation when it becomes available for the existence of any hidden IT nuggets.
A companion bill with “fixes” to the original Senate version also passed the House on Sunday and is expected to come up for a final vote in the Senate in a day or so. “Now that it looks like it's going to be passed, we need to get in to make sure that's the case,” Waldren said.
Waldren said, based on reports about earlier versions, the legislation will contain a fix of the stimulus bill regarding the eligibility for subsidies of hospital-based outpatient physicians.
In addition, Waldren said, “I'm pretty confident there are actually pilots for the medical home in the legislation. There are a lot of things in the medical home you need IT to facilitate and make it scale.”
Wes Rishel, a vice president and distinguished analyst for Gartner, a provider of market research for technology, said he's heard a rumor that one of the bills passed Sunday includes a requirement for the CMS to publish a final rule for regulating claims attachments within one year.
“Under HIPAA rules that would create mandatory implementation in 2013,” Rishel wrote in an e-mail this morning.
“This couples nicely with the trend in” meaningful-use requirements, he said, “to include criteria that dictate administrative savings in healthcare. This is potentially a huge opportunity to do that.”
But, Rishel adds, “I have not directly verified the rumor.”