Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Governor Doyle Signs Electronic Medical Record Bill

LA CROSSE – At Gundersen Lutheran in La Crosse today, Governor Jim Doyle signed into law 10 bills, including important electronic medical record legislation. Assembly Bill 779, the WIRED for Health Act, will strengthen the ability of Wisconsin health care providers to securely share electronic patient data in order to avoid duplicative tests, improve health outcomes, and decrease costs.

“If someone from La Crosse gets sick in Milwaukee, they should be able to access all of their own personal medical information electronically,” Governor Doyle said. “Without it, doctors have to run tests that have already been done, raising both the costs and possibility of errors. Creating an electronic exchange where medical records can be safely shared and patients’ privacy rights can be protected is a critical part of reforming health care in America.”

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act included funding to plan and develop the infrastructure for exchanging electronic medical records, as well as incentive payments for health care providers to start using electronic medical records. The State of Wisconsin is receiving $9.4 million for the planning and development of a statewide network. The legislation signed by the Governor today also paves the way for hospitals to receive between $500 million to $800 million in incentive payments to help them establish and use electronic medical record systems.

To be eligible for federal funding, states must have the technological infrastructure in place to allow providers to exchange health records. The WIRED for Health Act creates a framework for a state-level, private-public structure to govern and coordinate the implementation of the statewide network. Governor Doyle thanked the bill’s authors – Representatives Richards and Dexter and Senators Kreitlow and Vinehout – for their work on the bill.

Governor Doyle said an exchange will also help support the creation of new high-tech jobs in the state. Wisconsin is home to some of the top medical record technology companies in the country, from Epic Systems to GE Healthcare to Marshfield Clinic. These companies provide software to hospitals and clinics across the nation, and a statewide exchange will mean increased business – and new jobs – in Wisconsin.


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