Jindal signs electronic health records bill

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana is creating a new electronic health records loan program designed to help hospitals and doctors to go digital with medical records.

Governor  Bobby Jindal signed the bill creating the program on Thursday, but the plan is tied to federal stimulus money the state has yet to receive.

The bill allows the state health department to apply for the stimulus money to dole out loans to health care providers for the purchase and implementation of electronic health record systems.

The state budget includes $5 million in matching money required for Louisiana to apply for the federal grant.

State officials hope to draw down $25 million in federal money.

The law also allows the loan program to draw on other sources of funding if available.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)