Bill would include funds to encourage IT adoption

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New Senate legislation would offer more than $160 million to fund healthcare providers' adoption of health information technology.

The bill is under development by Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) and ranking minority member Michael B. Enzi (R-WY). The measure would provide $163 million in both fiscal 2008 and 2009 in the form of grants and loans to healthcare providers and states to implement IT.

A year ago, the Senate passed similar legislation, but it failed to move beyond a House/Senate conference. The current proposal seeks to codify in federal law the establishment of the National Coordinator of Health IT within the Department of Health and Human Services to oversee creation of a health IT infrastructure.