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Divided We Fail Commends Bipartisan Senate Leadership On Health IT Legislation

Bill Seeks to Improve the Quality and Delivery of Health Care

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: AARP Media Relations, 202-434-2560, media@aarp.org

AARP, Business Roundtable and SEIU, which together represent more than 50 million Americans, today took another groundbreaking step for their “Divided We Fail” group by endorsing legislation that would help reduce medical errors and save lives and money by moving from a paper-based health care system to secure electronic medical records.

The “Wired for Health Care Quality Act,” introduced by Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) and ranking minority member Michael B. Enzi (R-WY.), would spur adoption of a nationwide interoperable health information technology (HIT) system.

"Health IT is about bringing safety and efficiency to our health care system," said AARP CEO Bill Novelli. "People seeking treatment have enough to worry about; if we can alleviate the fear that an error will occur, we need to try to do that. A secure, uniform, interoperable system that works for patients and providers will save time, stress and money."

“Health care costs are the number-one cost pressure facing American businesses today, inhibiting job creation and hurting America’s ability to compete in global markets,” said John J. Castellani, Business Roundtable President. “With a projected $165 billion in annual savings, a national health IT infrastructure can certainly help ameliorate this situation, putting affordable, quality health care within reach for Americans. We certainly hope the Senate will quickly pass this legislation and inspire their counterparts in the House to follow suit.”

“With the involvement of frontline nurses and other caregivers, HIT holds the promise to improve patient safety, reduce administrative costs, and allow caregivers more time with patients,” said SEIU President Andy Stern. “HIT can transform health care for the benefit of those who deliver it and those who need it.”

The Divided We Fail members recently delivered endorsed principles for health IT legislation to Congress. At that time, the three groups urged lawmakers to address health IT immediately in order to increase safety and efficiency in the country’s health care system. The coalition believes health IT is a critical building block for broader health care reform.

AARP

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. We produce AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, our bimonthly magazine in Spanish and English; NRTA Live & Learn, our quarterly newsletter for 50 + educators; and our website, www.aarp.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Business Roundtable

Business Roundtable (www.businessroundtable.org) is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies with $4.5 trillion in annual revenues and more than 10 million employees. Member companies comprise nearly a third of the total value of the U.S. stock markets and represent over 40 percent of all corporate income taxes paid. Collectively, they returned $112 billion in dividends to shareholders and the economy in 2005. Roundtable companies give more than $7 billion a year in combined charitable contributions, representing nearly 60 percent of total corporate giving. They are technology innovation leaders, with $90 billion in annual research and development spending - nearly half of the total private R&D; spending in the U.S.

SEIU

With 1.8 million members, SEIU (www.seiu.org) is the fastest-growing union in North America. Focused on uniting workers in three sectors to improve their lives and the services they provide, SEIU is the largest health care union, including hospitals, nursing homes, and home care; the largest property services union, including building cleaning and security; and the second largest public employee union.

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