Legislation reported to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives would authorize $10 billion in federal loan guarantees to aid providers and other health care small businesses in buying health information technology products. These would include electronic health records to meet meaningful use requirements in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Eligible providers under the Small Business Health Information Technology Financing Program include physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants; physical and occupational therapists; speech-language pathologists, audiologists, medical transcriptionists, pharmacists, and suppliers of durable medical equipment, prosthetics, and orthotics.

The health IT loan program is part of the Small Business Financing and Investment Act that would offer a variety of aid to entities in multiple industries. The National Community Pharmacists Association praised efforts from Reps. Kathy Dahlkemper (D-Penn.) and Nadia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) to include independent community pharmacies in the legislation. The legislation will help small health care businesses with the upfront investment in technology, says Bruce Roberts, RPh, CEO of the Alexandria, Va.-based association.

The House Committee on Small Business on Oct. 26 reported the legislation to the floor.

The health IT language is in Sec. 601 of H.R. 3854, available at congress.gov.

This article can also be found at HealthDataManagement.com.

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