California Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) continues to advocate for health IT, as he reintroduced a bill that would aim to promote various technologies in the industry through marketplace incentives, grants, and increased workforce retraining.
The bill, the Healthcare Innovation and Marketplace Technologies Act (HIMTA), would establish an Office of Wireless Health at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The office would help create a framework on wireless health issues. The bill also would require the development of a mobile health (mHealth) support program Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help mobile health app developers conform to current privacy standards.
In December, Honda had to tried to pass the same bill but it was not enacted for an undisclosed reason. This bill is a bit more comprehensive, it also creates a challenge grant program to encourage risk-taking and new IT approaches, creates a low-interest small business loan program for clinics purchasing new healthcare services. A provision from the last bill that would create a grant for employee retraining in new positions that use health information technology, was included as well.
"New and emerging healthcare technologies are being developed every day, often with little support for their long-term reach. This legislation seeks not only to improve healthcare delivery, but to ensure that our government agencies have the tools they need to encourage innovation. With implementation of the Affordable Care Art just around the corner, this is a major step forward for both patients and providers,” Honda said in a statement.