Hope remains for health-IT bill passage this year

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Though no comprise has yet been reached on the Health Information Technology Promotion Act (H.R. 4157) before Congress went on recess, hope still remains for passage this year. The bill was passed in July by the House, and an earlier version of the legislation was passed by the Senate late last year. More recently, lawmakers in a conference committee have been going back and forth trying to settle a few controversial items in the bill having to do with program funding, privacy protections, billing code adoption, and exceptions to anti-kickback law. Otherwise, the bill sets out to empower the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to oversee standards for storing medical related data and oversee standards development relating to interoperability. It is still possible that the bill will be ironed out and passed in the post-election “lame duck” session this year.