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eHealth Initiative Lauds Inclusion of Health IT Provisions in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
Date:2/17/2009

WASHINGTON, Feb. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The independent, non-profit, multi-stakeholder eHealth Initiative congratulates both Congress and President Obama on the enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which includes an estimated net investment of $19 billion for health information technology (IT). This figure is comprised of $2 billion in immediate, discretionary funding for the Office of the National Coordinator, an estimated $29 billion to be paid out through Medicare and Medicaid incentives, and estimated off-setting savings of $12 billion.

Provisions in the package include codification of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, grant and loan programs, privacy policies, incentives for health care professionals and hospitals through Medicare, Medicaid incentives, the establishment of two advisory committees on standards and policy, and the creation of technical assistance programs.

The health IT investments made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will not only create jobs and stimulate the economy, but also lay the foundation for the transformation of the American health care system, by improving quality and safety, saving lives, reducing health care costs, and increasing access.

The final language includes many elements from the eHealth Initiative's 2008 report Improving Our Nation's Health and Health Care through Information Technology, including significant funding to support both capital requirements and ongoing incentives for standards-based health IT for providers; support for health information exchange efforts; technical assistance for effective health IT adoption to support the transformation of care delivery; and public and private sector leadership on both standards and policy. The 2008 eHI report is an executive summary which draws from both the eHealth Initiative Blueprint: Building Consensus for Common Action and eHealth Initiative's Consensus Legislation, which together represent a multi-stakeholder agreement on a shared vision, and a common set of principles, policies, strategies and actions for improving health and health care through information technology. More than 200 organizations representing every sector of health care, including clinicians, consumers, employers, health IT suppliers, health plans, hospitals and other providers, laboratories, pharmaceutical organizations, pharmacies, public health agencies, and state and community-based organizations, participated in the development of these reports.

"The effective adoption of health IT and secure, electronic health information exchange promises to transform care delivery, improve the health of the American people, and enable individuals to more effectively manage their health and health care," said Janet Marchibroda, chief executive officer of the eHealth Initiative. "We at the eHealth Initiative look forward to supporting President Obama and the new Administration in significantly advancing improvements in the quality, safety, efficiency, and access of health care, which will now be made even more possible by the significant investments that this Act provides."

To support health care leaders in their understanding of the key components of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the eHealth Initiative is offering a series of web-conferences which focus on primary elements of the legislation, including privacy, standards and policy, grant and loan programs, technical assistance programs, Medicare incentives, and Medicaid incentives, which will launch on Tuesday, February 17, 2009. To register for any of the web-conferences, go to http://www.ehealthinitiative.org/store/regWebinars.aspx.

About eHealth Initiative and its FoundationThe eHealth Initiative (eHI) is an independent, non-profit, multi-stakeholder organization whose mission is to drive improvements in the quality, safety, and efficiency of health care through information and information technology. eHI engages multiple stakeholders including clinicians, consumer and patient groups, employers and healthcare purchasers, health IT suppliers, health plans, hospitals and other providers, laboratories, pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, pharmacies, public health agencies, and state and community-based organizations, to reach agreement on and drive the adoption of common principles, policies, strategies and actions that improve the quality, safety and efficiency of health care through information technology that are responsible, practical, sustainable, responsible to stakeholder needs --- particularly those of patients -- and build and maintain the public's trust. For more information, visit www.ehealthinitiative.org.


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SOURCE eHealth Initiative
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