Lawmakers delay vote on Health IT bill

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The health IT bill that was approved last week by the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means committees has been put on hold over concerns that it could increase overall federal spending and decrease revenues.

The bill (HR 4157) would set out to empower the HHS’s Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to oversee standards for storing medical related data and develop standards towards interoperability.

The concerns came about after the Congressional Budget Office did a review of the bill and found that the called for changes to the Social Security Act could be potentially problematic. The changes would create “safe harbors” for donations of health IT would that would, as the CBO states in a letter to the Ways and Means committee, eliminate “monetary penalties, criminal penalties, or sanctions for violating the prohibitions on certain physician referrals.”

Also, the CBO cautioned that the bill in its current form would cause health plans, providers and other players to use the 10th revision of the International Classification of Diseases 3 years earlier than originally planned in 2012. This considerably more abrupt shift to the updated version of the classifications would create “substantial” costs to providers and claims processors, according to the CBO.