OLR Research Report

February 27, 2008




By: John Kasprak, Senior Attorney

You asked for information on proposed legislation in other states on electronic health records.


The February 14, 2008 edition of BNA's Health Law Reporter highlighted proposals in other states concerning electronic health records. We have focused on three—New Jersey, New Mexico and West Virginia.

Legislation proposed in New Jersey would prohibit a hospital from contracting for the purchase or lease of an electronic health records system if the seller is precluded from making that system available to other hospitals.

A bill in New Mexico would fund the implementation of electronic health records at certain primary care clinics in the state. West Virginia proposes to establish an electronic health records pilot program.


Assembly Bill 1390 of New Jersey's 2008 session would prohibit a hospital from contracting for the purchase, lease, or other use of an electronic health records system (or any part of it) that would directly or indirectly preclude the entity the hospital contracts with (the seller) from selling, leasing, or otherwise making that system available to another hospital.

The bill defines “electronic health records system” as the information technology and software applications that are used to electronically collect, store, retrieve, or transfer clinical, administrative, or financial information within and for use by a hospital in the conduct of its clinical, administrative, or financial operations.

A hospital violating the bill's provisions would be subject to penalties as determined by the commissioner of New Jersey's Department of Health and Senior Services.

This bill is identical to legislation in the 2007 session (AB 4043) which passed the General Assembly in June 2007 and was pending in a Senate committee when the session ended.


Senate Bill 341 in New Mexico would appropriate funds to the state Health Department to implement electronic patient health records at primary care clinics. Specifically, the bill appropriates $500,000 for FY 2009 and subsequent years to implement electronic patient health records in primary care clinics eligible to receive funds under the state's “Rural Primary Health Care Act.”

The funding would be used to:

1. assist primary care clinics to implement comprehensive electronic patient records, including laboratory and radiology test results that are exportable to state, federal, and regional registries and data bases;

2. improve practitioner access to evidence-based protocols, decision support tools, and best practices in disease management and prevention;

3. prescribe medications through systems with alerts for adverse drug reactions;

4. involve patients more fully in their health care through personal heath records;

5. reduce mortality and morbidity caused by preventable medical errors; and

6. achieve cost savings by eliminating unnecessary or duplicative treatment and diagnostic tests.


Senate Bill 544 of the 2008 West Virginia legislative session would establish a pilot program on electronic data sharing for clinical decision support. Under the bill, the existing “West Virginia Health Information Network” would initiate a pilot program involving at least two hospitals using existing electronic health information sources to establish electronic data sharing for clinical decision support.

The pilot program's objectives must include (1) supporting patient care and improving quality of care, (2) enhancing health care professionals' productivity, and (3) reducing administrative costs of health care delivery and financing.

Program objectives may also include (1) determining whether and how to expand the pilot program statewide; (2) implementing strategies for future developments in health care technology, policy, management, governance and finance; and (3) ensuring patient data confidentiality at all times.

The bill was introduced on February 1, 2008 and referred to the Committee on Health and Human Resources, and then to the Judiciary Committee.