Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) introduced a bill earlier this week that would authorize grants to develop rural health IT, Technology Daily reported.
Under the legislation, states would be eligible for federal aid based on their number of critical-access hospitals, and the funding would go to government-run and not-for-profit hospitals.
"Most rural hospitals do not have the personnel capabilities, or access, to compete with larger health systems for funding," Coleman said in a statement. "If we have the means to help reduce medical errors, improve quality of care and reduce rising healthcare costs, it is imperative that small towns and communities benefit as well."
The bill also calls for the HHS secretary to update standards of the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs, and it would give the HHS secretary the authority to adopt electronic health care transaction standards recommended by the American National Standards Institute.