In an effort to more efficiently bring health IT efforts together, four senators are merging their competing bills into what is being called the Wired For Health Care Quality Act (S.1418).
The combined bill contains components from each of the bills previously introduced by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) as well as one introduced by Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.).
"We have worked together to combine our bills into one that will bring the government and private sector together to build new electronic pathways for medical data, and thereby provide all Americans with healthcare that is better, safer and more efficient," Enzi said in comments relating to the new combo bill.
Highlights from the Wired For Health Care Quality Act include the establishment of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. This office would be charged with the role of creating health IT standards processes for implementation as well as coordinate grant awards and set and maintain quality standards.
The Senate HELP committee is said to be reviewing the bill this week, though there might be a long waiting line. A number of other similar bills which have been introduced this year still are pending in the Senate and House.
Health Imaging News will continue to monitor developments.