Yesterday West Virginia Senator Jay Rockefeller introduced “The Health Information Technology Public Utility Act of 2009”(Senate Bill 890) to facilitate the nationwide adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) though an “open source” public utility model.
- Create a new federal Public Utility Board within the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to direct and oversee formation of this HIT Public Utility Model, its implementation, and its ongoing operation.
- Implement and administer a new 21st Century Health IT Grant program for safety-net providers to cover the full cost of open source software implementation and maintenance for up to five years, with the possibility of renewal for up to five years if required benchmarks are met.
- Facilitate ongoing communication with open source user groups to incorporate improvements and innovations from them into the core programs.
- Ensure interoperability between these programs, including as innovations are incorporated, and develop mechanisms to integrate open source software with Medicaid and CHIP billing.
- Create a child-specific Electronic Health Record (EHR) to be used in Medicaid, CHIP, and other federal children’s health programs.
- Develop and integrate quality and performance measurement into open source software modules.