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Premier Inc. Urges Passage of Legislation to Advance Health Information Technology.

WASHINGTON -- The Premier Inc. healthcare alliance, a longtime advocate of widespread adoption of health information technology (HIT) to improve healthcare quality, today urged Congress to act swiftly to pass HIT legislation.

In letters sent to Senate healthcare committee leaders Senators Charles Grassley (I-IA), Max Baucus (D-MT), Michael Enzi (R-WY) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Premier urged approval of a final HIT bill before Congress adjourns that includes explicit fraud and abuse exceptions for HIT and ensures timely adoption of ICD-10. Legislation that would encourage widespread adoption of HIT has passed both the House and Senate and is now awaiting action by a conference committee tasked with ironing out the differences between the two versions of the bill.

In urging swift passage of HIT legislation, Premier asked lawmakers to adopt the House-passed provisions in H.R. 4157 that provide a safe harbor from the anti-kickback law and exceptions to the physician self-referral law for HIT. The provisions would provide the necessary clarity to allow hospitals, medical groups and others to donate HIT to physicians, removing the roadblocks to HIT adoption that have been created by Medicare fraud and abuse laws, the letter states.

Although final rules issued recently by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of Inspector General provide exceptions to these fraud and abuse laws for HIT, they do not go far enough, stated Premier Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Blair Childs in the letter. "By contrast, the statutory exceptions in H.R. 4157 provide a clear roadmap for both the donor and the recipient," Childs said.

Premier also called on the healthcare committee leaders to agree to another provision included in the House-passed version that would require adoption of the new ICD-10 coding system by 2009. Childs said that replacing the outdated coding system currently in use with ICD-10 is "central to supporting the collection of the information needed to implement a proper pay-for-performance system for providers."

About Premier Inc.

An alliance of more than 1,500 hospitals and 42,000 other healthcare sites, Premier Inc. helps its members accelerate both clinical and financial performance. Premier offers group purchasing and supply chain services, performance measurement and benchmarking, and insurance programs. Headquartered in San Diego, Calif., Premier has offices in Charlotte, N.C., and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.premierinc.com.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Sep 27, 2006
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