Group takes aim at Stark's health IT bill

Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society says lawmaker's proposal could undo progress made by government and private sector.

A trade group representing the U.S. healthcare industry's information technology interests has written to House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Fortney (Pete) Stark, D-Calif., and ranking member Dave Camp, R-Mich., opposing some components of a bill that would help build a nationwide system of electronic medical records.

Comment on this article in The Forum.According to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, the proposal Stark introduced this month as a marker for early action in the 111th Congress could "dismantle the work that the federal government and private sector have already achieved" by replacing an existing health IT advisory panel with a federal advisory committee.

The bill's proposal to have the federal government develop an open-source health IT system and make the technology available to providers for a nominal fee also rubbed the group the wrong way. The development, routine updating, and provision of such a system "is not the role of the federal government and such product development should remain in the private sector," stated the letter, which was released late Thursday. "Healthcare IT is available via a competitive market in which vendors compete on the basis of price, quality, and functionality of a product."