When they say there is something for everyone in the current economic stimulus bill, they weren’t kidding. Inside this mostly economic bill (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) is a entire section dedicated to promoting various aspects of health-care information.
Approximately $19 billion total: $2 billion in grants to create a national system of computerized health records and $17 billion in higher Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements for doctors and hospitals to adopt the technology.
The bill also would tighten restrictions on the sale of medical data and require patients be told when their records are disclosed. There are several other provisions (grants for using health-information technology, more in Medicaid and Medicare payments, penalties, etc.) but most of the privacy language can be found in Sec. 13400 et. seq. of the bill. THOMAS, the Library of Congress’ legislative information portal, has the entire bill, reports, and summaries.