Categorized | Health

Health IT bill could mean millions for Hawaii

Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu detailed House Bill 1782, HD2, a proposal to establish the Office of State Coordinator of Health Information Technology, at a press conference Monday in Honolulu. 

This is a program that will have the potential of raising much needed new revenue to the state. It would serve to coordinate local efforts, identify funding sources, integrate state health programs, and eventually participate in the national health information technology network. 

It would be located with the Department of Accounting and General Services.

President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plan proposes $20 billion for health information technology, including a potential $11 million per hospital. HB 1782, HD2 will strengthen the state’s efforts to access these new federal monies. At a $10 to $1 federal fund match, Health Information Technology has the potential to draw down the biggest amount of federal funds for the state after rail.

At crossover, the House passed HB1782, HD2, Relating to Health Information Exchange, which is now before the Senate for action. Here are some facts about the proposed legislation:

* Establishes a statewide Health Information Technology (IT) system.

* Establishes a health information technology task force comprised of state agencies and stakeholders.

* $35 million appropriated for IT in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, with $20 billion specifically appropriated for Health IT.

* American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 allows for states, or a qualified state-designated entity within the state to qualify for federal funds for Health IT purposes: $10 match in federal funds to every $1 in state funds for FY2011; $7 match in federal funds to every $1 in state funds for FY2012; $3 match in federal funds to every $1 in state funds for FY2013 and each subsequent fiscal year

* There is no specific limit on state grant award amounts in the ARRA 2009 for Health IT making it the second biggest draw down of federal funds to Hawaii after the rail project.

* Health IT will also improve patient healthcare by providing physicians with immediate access to patient edical records, including patient medical history, lab results, and prescription medications to name a few, all of which will contribute to a reduction in medical errors.

* Reduction in medical errors will assist in driving down the high cost of medical malpractice insurance premiums that are causing doctors to no longer practice in the state of Hawaii.

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