CHAMP bill set to throw U.S. health IT implementation into disarray

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In addition to proposing significant cuts for the reimbursement of diagnostic medical imaging services, the Children’s Health and Medicare Protection Act  of 2007 (CHAMP) will usurp the progress currently being made for health IT deployment in U.S. physician offices and replace it with a one-size-fits-all system designed for Medicare providers.

The CHAMP bill, H.R. 3162, passed in the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month, and a separate version, S. 1893, to reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), was passed by the Senate earlier this year.

Section 905 of the CHAMP legislation, “Implementation of Health Information Technology under Medicare,” delineates seven specifications for health IT systems to be used by all healthcare providers under the Medicare program.

The seven specifications are:
1. The system protects the privacy and security of individually identifiable health information.
2. The system maintains and provides permitted access to health information in an electronic format (such as through computerized patient records or a clinical data repository).
3. The system utilizes interface software that allows for interoperability.
4. The system includes clinical decision support.
5. The system incorporates e-prescribing and computerized physician order entry.
6. The system incorporates patient tracking and reminders.
7. The system utilizes technology that is open source (if available) or technology that has been developed by the government.

According to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), a minority dissenting view was published with the legislation critiquing Section 905. The dissenting view stated:

“Every physician is entitled to selecting a system that will best suit their practice and their patients’ needs; this is the only way to ensure successful nationwide implementation. Having the federal government and the large bureaucracy select one system for every type of provider is a recipe for disaster and the minority believes Section 905 is just that.”

HIMSS said it is working with the electronic health record (EMR) Vendor Association to either remove Section 905 or change the language to be less disruptive to the HIT industry.