HIMSS Asks Congress To Take Action on Health IT Issues

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society has outlined three formal requests for congressional action to advance health IT efforts, Healthcare IT News reports (Monegain, Healthcare IT News, 9/18).

Specifically, HIMSS asked Congress to:

  • Expand telehealth services to improve access to care, patient outcomes and to reduce health care costs;
  • Minimize the disruption in the U.S. health system caused by federally mandated changes to health IT programs (Slabodkin, Health Data Management, 9/15); and
  • Provide funding to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to achieve interoperability, improve clinical quality and protect patient privacy (Pedulli, Clinical Innovation & Technology, 9/18).

HIMSS made several recommendations to help Congress meet its requests. For example, HIMSS suggested that Congress:

  • Approve President Obama's 2015 budget request to allocate $75 million to ONC;
  • Pass legislation that permits the "realization of the full benefits of telehealth services," such as the Telehealth Enhancement Act of 2013 (HR 3306), which would expand Medicare coverage for such services; and
  • Ask HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell publish a five-year roadmap of any HHS-administered health IT requirements or program changes (Hall, FierceHealthIT, 9/12).

Meanwhile, HIMSS highlighted several other areas that need better coordination, including:

  • Accountable care and payment reform;
  • Clinical quality measures;
  • Health IT incentives;
  • Health information exchange funding;
  • Health IT standards; and
  • Patient safety (Healthcare IT News, 9/18).
Source: iHealthBeat, Friday, September 19, 2014

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