House panel passes bill to require electronic health records for FEHBP members

The House Government Reform Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce and Agency Organization on Wednesday passed a bill (HR 4859) that would authorize the Office of Personnel Management to require health insurers to establish two forms of electronic health records for the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, CongressDaily reports.

The first form of EHRs would include information currently tracked by health insurers -- such as hospital and physician visits, claims information and prescription drug records -- and FEHBP members could access them within four years of passage of the legislation. The second form of EHR would include personal health information -- such as medical history, symptoms and diet -- and FEHBP members would administer them. The bill, co-sponsored by subcommittee Chair Jon Porter (R-Nev.) and Rep. William Clay (D-Mo.), would require health insurers to comply with medical privacy rules established under the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in the administration of the EHRs (CongressDaily, 9/14). Under the legislation, health insurers would cover the cost of the establishment of the EHRs and could not pass the cost to FEHBP members through higher premiums. The bill also would require health insurers to provide grants to physicians to implement EHRs through a new trust fund established with private donations.

Some Concerns

America's Health Insurance Plans has asked Porter to delay the legislation until health insurers develop standards for EHRs and the systems used to store and transmit them. AHIP President Karen Ignagni said that the bill would lead to the establishment of a number of different EHR "models and make standardization and interoperability very difficult to achieve." Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) said that the legislation should include more privacy protections, such as a requirement that health insurers inform FEHBP members in the event their EHRs are unlawfully obtained (Wayne, CQ Today, 9/13).

Kaiser Health NewsThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment
You might also like...
She paid her husband’s hospital bill. A year after his death, they wanted more money.