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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee announced the approval of a bill that would provide cutting edge health care information through a paperless records system that would improve the quality of care for patients.

The HELP Committee, only two weeks after introduction, passed “The Wired for Health Care Quality Act,” S. 1418, by a voice vote Wednesday morning. The bill is a compromise version of the “Better Healthcare Through Information Technology Act,” and a separate health information technology bill offered by Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and Senator Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., “The Health Technology to Enhance Quality Act.”

“All of us believe that if we move from a paper-based health care system to secure electronic medical records, we will reduce mistakes, save lives, save time and save money,” Enzi said. “Because we share this goal, we have worked together to combine our bills into one that will bring the government and the private sector together to build new electronic pathways for medical data, and thereby provide all Americans with healthcare that is better, safer and more efficient.”

The “Wired for Health Care Quality Act,” S.1418, includes key provisions to:

establish and chair the public-private American Health Information Collaborative;

make recommendations to identify uniform national standards for adoption by the federal government to support the widespread adoption of health information technology;

award competitive grants to hospitals, group practices, and other health care providers to facilitate the adoption of health information technology;

award demonstration grants to health professions centers and academic health centers to integrate health information technology into clinical education;

establish a quality measurement system to ultimately reward health care providers who improve the quality of care patients receive.

“Majority Leader Frist has worked closely with us on this legislation and hopefully we will be able to pass this on the Senate floor soon, possibly within the next week or two,” said Enzi.

The bill will now be added to the Senate calendar for consideration by the full Senate.

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