Although Congress is in recess, here in DC NACHC has continued working to build support for the Medicaid Health Information Technology (HIT) incentive payment fix for health centers. As we continue to advocate for HR 6348 in the House, Senators Debbie Stabenow (MI) and Olympia Snowe (ME) are now championing this issue in the Senate. The two Senators are now circulating a bipartisan-led “Dear Colleague Letter” that Senators can sign on to during the recess that urges the Senate Finance Committee’s Chair and Ranking Member, Senators Max Baucus (D-MT) and Charles Grassley (R-IA), to include health centers’ HIT fix in any legislation being considered this fall. By signing onto the Dear Colleague letter, Senators can express their support for our fix while Congress is on recess. Shortly after Congress comes back in session, Senators Stabenow and Snowe will send their letter to Senators Baucus and Grassley, and it is critical that health centers demonstrate a broad base of bipartisan support by getting as many co-signers from both parties as possible.
We discussed the nitty-gritty of this fix in an earlier blog. Put simply: without these proposed changes each health center will have to revise their contracts with eligible providers to ensure they can receive part of the nearly $1 billion in federal support for the adoption of EMRs. Without this important fix health centers could lose out on millions of dollars!
We are very thankful to our champions – Representative Frank Kratovil, Senator Debbie Stabenow and Senator Olympia Snowe – who understand the importance of passing this fix quickly and are leading the effort on health centers’ behalf in both chambers. But now we have an important opportunity, while Members of Congress are at home on the campaign trail, to educate and build broad support for this issue. While they are in the district you can talk to your Member of Congress in person and:
- Let your Representatives know that HR 6348 is important to your health center’s adoption of HIT and ask him or her to co-sponsor the bill.
- Let your Senators know that the Stabenow-Snowe Dear Colleague letter on Medicaid HIT incentive payments is circulating now and ask them to co-sign the letter as soon as possible.
- Sign up as a health center advocate so you can stay informed and be ready for more advocacy on this important issue!
For more information visit the NACHC Federal Affairs website to read our HIT one-pager and to access copies of the House bill (HR 6348) or the Stabenow-Snowe Dear Colleague letter. You can also tune in to the blog regularly for more information as it happens.