Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt has released a statement regarding Medicare physician payment legislation and health information technology:
“The benefits of utilizing health information technology for keeping electronic health records and other purposes are clear. This technology will produce a higher quality of care, while reducing medical costs and errors, which kill more Americans each year than highway accidents, breast cancer or AIDS.
“Congressional leaders are working on legislation to address Medicare’s physician payment system, staving off a reduction in reimbursement rates that is set to take effect in January and is required by law.
“In my view, any new bill should require physicians to implement health information technology that meets department standards in order to be eligible for higher payments from Medicare.
“Such a requirement would accelerate adoption of this technology considerably, and help to drive improvements in health care quality as well as reductions in medical costs and errors. I’m confident that many members of Congress are of a like mind on this issue and I will actively work with them in the near future.”