Doctors want Congress, in the next couple of weeks, to once again override the Sustainable Growth Rate law. It will cost taxpayers at least $4 billion. This year it’s a 10% reduction they will be overriding. Next year it will be 15%. We just dig a bigger and bigger hole. We need to begin the process of moving toward a longer-term solution. It is the position of the Administration that any new bill overriding the SGR law should require physicians to implement health information technology that meets department standards for interoperability in order to be eligible for higher payments from Medicare. The benefits of utilizing interoperable health information technology for keeping electronic health records, prescribing drugs electronically and other purposes are clear. This technology will produce a higher quality of care, while reducing medical costs and errors, which affected an estimated 1.5 million Americans last year through prescription drug errors. 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 look forward to discussing it with them in the next few days.
Dec 4, 2007
Tell Leavitt What You Think
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt wants all physicians to put electronic health records in their offices and use e-prescribing if they want Congress to prevent the pending 10-percent cut in Medicare payments. The secretary outlines his reasoning on his blog, which accepts comments. There's an excerpt below, but log on and read Secretary Leavitt's musings ... and then let him know what you think.