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D.C. Report: Healthcare Policy Takes Center Stage at GOP Convention

September 4, 2012
by Jeff Smith, Assistant Director of Advocacy at CHIME
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Healthcare Politics Front and Center during GOP Convention The recent regulatory firestorm (from Meaningful Use and related certification criteria updates to ICD-10) gave way to last week’s political firestorm and real-world hurricane storm.  The Republican convention was held in Tampa, Fla., while Hurricane Isaac reached the gulf coast shore in Louisiana and Mississippi.  Keen observers of the GOP convention would tell you that healthcare policy was front and center during most – if not all – of the marquee speeches.  Whether it was Medicare or Obamacare, Republicans spent the week talking about their plans to dismantle health insurance exchanges, disbar the Independent Payment Advisory Board, and reconfigure Medicare from a defined benefits plan to a defined contribution program. 

Healthcare IT, however, was not on the Republican convention agenda.  But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t given a nod in the GOP Party Platform.  In the section devoted to improving healthcare quality and lowering costs, the platform says, “We support technology enhancements for medical health records and data systems while affirming patient privacy and ownership of health information.”

So rest easy everyone, health IT remains a darling issue of the Grand Old Party (save for Sen. Coburn) and it doesn’t appear that a Romney-Ryan presidency would seek to undo Meaningful Use along with Medicare and Medicaid.

ONC Chooses Permanent Certification Bodies for EHR Technology Now that the Meaningful Use Stage 2 rules are final, ONC is putting into place other components of the program that will be needed in 2014.  This week, ONC authorized five entities to serve as the testing and certifying bodies for EHR technology.  According to government officials, the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT), the Drummond Group, ICSA Labs, InfoGard Laboratories and Orion Register will serve as the certification bodies and begin testing software using “2014 Edition” criteria once ONC releases approved testing procedures, expected by year’s end.

National Health IT Approaches – Top 5 Things to Do With the Seventh Annual National Health IT Week just around the corner, here are some suggestions on what health IT professionals should do. Events will take place Sept. 10-14, 2012. NHIT Week provides an opportunity for public and private collaboration on health IT issues. It allows public and private healthcare constituents to educate Congress, the Obama Administration, the Romney Campaign, federal agencies and many other stakeholders on recent developments in health IT as well as policy concerns as Meaningful Use becomes more widespread.

  1. Policy Tech Showcase – Thursday, Sept. 13 in Hart 902.
  2. HIMSS 11th Annual Policy SummitSept. 12-13, various locations. Includes legislative training, Hill meetings, and many educational speakers.
  3. National Health IT Press Conference – Thursday, September 13 in Hart 902. This part of the Tech Showcase features speakers from Congress, industry and the private sector on important developments in health IT, and the importance of policies that will aid healthcare reform.
  4. 1st National Health IT Week Blog Carnival – Sept. 10-14. HIMSS hosts the 1st #NHITweek blog Carnival, which calls all health IT stakeholders to share their opinions on the impact health IT will have in 2013. Deadline September 5, 2012 – see website for more details.     
  5. 2012 Consumer Health IT Summit: Expanding Access to Health Information– Sept. 10 at Hubert H. Humphrey Building. The 2012 Consumer Health IT Summit will bring together federal leaders including: Todd Park, U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Farzad Mostashari, National Coordinator, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and inspiring leaders from the private and non-profit sectors.

Check out the NHIT Week website for more details on all events throughout NHIT week.