Washington, D.C. - Today, Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX-26), Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17), Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX-08), and Congressman Charlie Rangel (D-NY-15), introduced The Equal Access and Parity for Multi-Campus Hospitals (HITECH) Act, HR 2500. The legislation would ensure that multi-campus hospitals that adopt and use health IT systems that meet appropriate standards are treated fairly under federal rules receiving incentive payments that take into account their higher costs of implementation. The legislation was introduced with over fifty bi-partisan co-sponsors.
"The current rule provides only one payment for multi-campus hospitals, treating them as if they were only one hospital," said Dr. Burgess who serves as the Vice-Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health. "In reality though, if a hospital has multiple campuses, they will be spending money for HIT implementation at each location. Even after several attempts to get this provision fixed, the rule still ignored the issue, and this bill would finally fix the problem."
"The Equal Access and Parity for Multi-Campus Hospitals Act corrects some omissions made in previous legislation designed to aid health professionals to incorporate Health Information technology into their systems. I am proud to introduce this bi-partisan legislation with my Colleagues Dr. Burgess (R-TX), Mr. Rangel (D-NY) and Mr. Brady (R-TX), as I believe that multi-campus hospitals should not be penalized for having more than one location. This legislation will allows hospitals, such as Montefiore Medical Center, to get their fair share," said Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY-17), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health.
"As Washington encourages health care providers to improve their IT systems, we want to ensure equal funding treatment for hospitals with multiple campuses. This will accelerate state-of-the-art technology and coordination, and will fulfill the intention of Congress," said Rep. Brady.
"This bill clarifies Congressional intent to provide a common sense, fair approach for multi-campus health systems. We need widespread adoption of electronic health records and incentive payments to provide increased quality of care for the American people. I am proud to be part of this bi-partisan bill and will work to see its quick passage," said Rep. Rangel.
Multi-campus hospital systems have incremental acquisition, training, and implementation costs when adopting health IT systems. The legislation clarifies that the health IT incentives in the Recovery Act should address these costs and offers choices for how the campuses receive these incentive payments, reflecting differences between large and small multi-campus hospital systems. Heath care organizations have commended the legislation.
"This legislation is instrumental to delivering the promise of electronic health records to more Americans," said AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock. "And with integrated electronic health records will come improved patient outcomes and efficiencies in care delivery to support better health and health care."
"The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), thanks Representatives Burgess, Brady, Rangel and Engel on introduction of the bipartisan The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. This important legislation will help our nation's teaching hospitals implement fully integrated HIT systems with interoperable electronic health records (EHR) throughout entire health care systems, improve and coordinate the best possible care for their patients, and train the country's physicians in new technologies and care models," said Association of American Medical Colleges President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, M.D.