New mandates for adopting "operating rules" to tighten the HIPAA transactions, as well as adoption of new transactions and a unique health plan identifier, dominate the information technology provisions of the new health reform law (see story). But there are numerous other ways that I.T. will support the goals of reform.

For instance, Sec. 520K of the law calls for the Department of Health and Human Services to offer grants and "cooperative agreements" for demonstration programs to coordinate care to special populations "through the co-location of primary and specialty care services in community-based mental health and behavioral health settings," according to the law. Up to 15 percent of funding can be used to implement information technology to accommodate the needs of primary and specialty care professionals. The section authorizes $50 million for these demonstration programs in 2010 with undetermined sums for 2011 through 2014.

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