Gov. Doyle: Signs electronic medical record bill

Also Signs Nine Other Bills at Gundersen Lutheran in La Crosse, Including Legislation to Require Newborn Hearing Screening

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.

Governor Doyle also signed the following nine bills:

Assembly Bill 699 exempts wellness programs from unfair marketing or trade practices.

Governor Doyle thanked Representatives Zigmunt and Barca and Senators Sullivan and Cowles for their work on the bill.

Senate Bill 96 eliminates limitations on diversions under a community integration program of Medical Assistance-eligible individuals from imminent entry into nursing homes.

Governor Doyle thanked Senators Leibham and Darling and Representatives LeMahieu and Townsend for their work on the bill.

Senate Bill 127 amends certain notification requirements to the state and certain public agencies regarding a medical malpractice claim.

Governor Doyle thanked Senators Risser and Lehman and Representatives Cullen and Staskunas for their work on the bill.

Senate Bill 323 requires newborn hearing screening.

Governor Doyle thanked Senators Lassa and Taylor and Representatives Dexter and Kaufert for their work on the bill.

Senate Bill 460 allows a health care provider to treat the partner of a patient diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease without a physical examination of the partner in special cases when the partner is unlikely to seek treatment.

Governor Doyle thanked Senators Robson and Lehman and Representatives Pasch and Roys for their work on the bill.

Senate Bill 609 requires informed consent before administration of psychotropic medication to a nursing home resident who has a degenerative brain disorder.

Governor Doyle thanked Senator Holperin and Representatives Meyer and Pasch for their work on the bill.

Senate Bill 667 requires behavior analysts to be licensed and extends insurance coverage for autism treatment provided by behavior analysts.

Governor Doyle thanked Senator Wirch and Representative Hintz for their work on the bill.

Senate Bill 684 changes certain provisions regarding agreements between political subdivisions to operate a nursing home or intermediate care facility.

Governor Doyle thanked Senators Vinehout and S. Fitzgerald and Representatives Shilling and J. Fitzgerald for their work on the bill.

Governor Doyle also signed Assembly Bill 720 to amend and revise existing statutory provisions to improve clarity and eliminate conflicts.

Governor Doyle thanked the members of the Law Revision Committee for their work on the bill.