Washington, D.C. – Today, the Health IT Now Coalition issued the following statement applauding the U.S. House of Representatives for passing H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act.
“This is a great step forward for the application of technology and data in improving health care. Health IT Now wholeheartedly supports H.R. 2 and, specifically, the provisions included that leverage information technology to achieve the goals of lowering costs and improving quality, outcomes and safety,” said Joel White, Executive Director of Health IT Now. “Interoperability, data sharing, a reform of Meaningful Use incentives and incentives for leveraging technology to do better are all a part of H.R. 2. These are issues we have been working years to achieve. The House has just advanced technology enabled health care in a big way. We encourage the Senate to move swiftly to pass this bill because President Obama is ready to sign it.”
Health IT Now is encouraged by the following provisions included in H.R. 2 that leverage health IT:
- Promoting Interoperability to Help Ensure Providers are Effective in New Care Models. We support interoperability as a national objective, requiring HHS to review the current state of interoperable health IT and requiring the adoption of interoperability standards by a date certain. This will help ensure providers are successful in the new care coordination and payment models included in the bill, reduce regulatory burdens and ease the transition into the new payment regimes.
- Ending Information Blocking to Improve Safety, Care. Information blocking erodes provider trust in the systems they use and leads to unsafe clinical environments because partial information on a patient can result in medical errors and adverse events. We support the requirement for providers to attest they are not blocking information.
- Expanding the Use of Telemedicine to Improve Quality, Lower Costs. The VA, DOD and other Federal health programs are actively expanding telemedicine by broadening coverage and reducing cost sharing. Telemedicine leverages scarce resources while improving convenience and access to care, adherence to care programs and better health outcomes. H.R. 2 takes steps to expand the use of telemedicine, particularly by recognizing telemedicine as a clinical practice improvement activity, ensuring that telemedicine and remote monitoring can be used in Alternative Payment Models and by testing remote monitoring. The bill calls for the Comptroller General to conduct a study on a common national definition of telehealth for federal programs and on issues that facilitate or inhibit the use of Remote Patient Monitoring and telehealth including professional licensure, privacy and security and infrastructure requirements in rural and urban areas.
- Expanding CMS Data Sharing Program to Improve Choices and Knowledge. R. 2 expands the use and availability of Medicare data, and possibly other claims data, that will provide valuable insights into care delivery, quality, safety, fraud and costs. Such analyses, in turn, could lead to a range of beneficial outcomes, from better comparison-shopping tools, to higher performing networks to safer medicine. This information is useful in population health management and other activities that lower costs and improve health.
About the Health IT Now Coalition: Health IT Now (HITN) is a broad based coalition of patient groups, provider organizations, employers and payers that supports incentives to deploy health information technology to improve care, provider performance, patient outcomes and to lower costs. Learn more at www.healthitnow.org.