FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, December 3, 2007
Contact: HHS Press Office
Statement by Mike Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Regarding Medicare Physician Payment Legislation and Health Information Technology
The benefits of utilizing health information technology for keeping electronic health records and other purposes are clear. This technology will produce a higher quality of care, while reducing medical costs and errors, which kill more Americans each year than highway accidents, breast cancer or AIDS.
Congressional leaders are working on legislation to address Medicare's physician payment system, staving off a reduction in reimbursement rates that is set to take effect in January and is required by law.
In my view, any new bill should require physicians to implement health information technology that meets department standards in order to be eligible for higher payments from Medicare.
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 will actively work with them in the near future.
This legislation should also support the success of the Medicare Modernization Act. The Medicare drug benefit has helped ensure access to vital medication for millions of seniors and has done so at nearly $200 billion less than its original estimated cost. Medicare Advantage enrollees are overwhelmingly satisfied with their choices for care, and enjoy substantial benefits and value. Both have proven to be highly popular with the American people and worthy of continued support from Congress.
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Last revised: January 20, 2009