Health IT Now Commends Proposed Meaningful Use Reforms, Telehealth Expansion in Sen. Bill Cassidy White Paper

WASHINGTON, DC (May 29, 2018): Health IT Now - a broad-based coalition of patient groups, provider organizations, employers, and payers supporting health information technology to improve patient outcomes - responded today to a newly unveiled white paper from Sen. Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) entitled, "Ideas to Make Health Care Affordable Again." 

The nine-page report calls for, "reforming the meaningful use program that is turning highly educated and compensated health professionals into data entry clerks," which Health IT Now has also championed, most recently in its joint report released earlier this year with the Bipartisan Policy Center. Cassidy's white paper further posits that "Congress should allow greater use of telemedicine," aligning with Health IT Now's longtime goal of increasing coverage and reimbursement for telehealth services across payers and settings of care.

Health IT Now shepherded passage of legislation expanding telehealth access within the Department of Veterans Affairs and has endorsed a bill to ease originating site originating site restrictions on Medicare reimbursement for telehealth treatment of substance abuse disorders. 

HITN Executive Director Joel White released the following statement:

“We agree with Senator Cassidy that now is the time to make health care more affordable. Too often, health care has not been able to capitalize on new technologies to transform the way care is provided in the same way other industries have," said HITN Executive Director Joel White."To realize efficiencies and to allow innovation and technology to flourish in health care, we should reform outdated federal programs to modernize the way care is paid for and regulated. Meaningful use is a good place to start, because it resulted in digitization of doctors’ offices and hospitals, not transformation. Doctors spend more time with their computers than with their patients. We have yet to reach widespread interoperability, and information blocking is still prevalent in a program meant to incentivize information sharing. 

White concluded, "We must incentivize the free flow of information to better deliver and pay for care. Reforms to public programs, such as simplifying Meaningful Use, ending information blocking, and expanding telehealth coverage and reimbursement - particularly in Medicare - are needed to truly make health care affordable again. We commend Senator Cassidy for outlining these recommendations and look forward to working with him and others to put these policies into practice."