House, Senate disagree on IT bill compromises

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Negotiations between the House and the Senate over a healthcare information technology bill have stalled. One of the major points of dispute are anti-kickback laws.

The House passed a bill (HR 4157) in July that would include an exemption of anti-kickback laws allowing hospitals to provide healthcare IT hardware and software to individual physicians. The Senate passed a different version of the bill (S 1418) in November 2005 that does not include the exemption of anti-kickback laws.

Lawmakers also disagree on funding, privacy and interoperability issues. It is uncertain whether the Senate and House can pass a final bill before midterm elections, congressional aides say. Provisions of the bill would affect nursing homes, which lag behind other healthcare sector in information technology.