The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee still plans to propose legislation this year to advance the interoperability of electronic health records, one of many reasons the administration should wait to finalize Stage 3 meaningful use requirements under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said today at a hearing on “Achieving the Promise of Health Information Technology.” The legislation would be a companion to the 21st Century Cures legislation passed earlier this year by the House. Alexander also urged the administration to immediately adopt proposed changes to the Stage 2 requirements. “The whole purpose of this program is to benefit patients, so that they and their health care providers have quicker and better access to their health histories and their doctors and hospitals and pharmacists can provide them with better care,” Alexander told administration witnesses at the hearing. “There is no reason not to take time to do it right, and there are plenty of reasons to do [so].” On Tuesday, Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) also plan to introduce a bill to address EHR certification issues, Cassidy said.

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