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HIMSS 2017 Congressional Asks Address Pressing Health IT Issues

With more than 68,000 voices, HIMSS is proud to present the 2017 Congressional Asks.

These key legislative policy recommendations reflect opportunities to address some of the most pressing issues facing the health IT community.

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is a top concern for the health sector. The impact of a significant security incident to a healthcare organization is not just financial or reputational. Such an incident may have an adverse effect on patient safety (e.g., a hacked EHR system with tampered information, or a connected medical device under the control of a hacker which may deliver a fatal dose of medicine to a patient) or cripple patient care by making unavailable essential IT systems and data necessary to provide care.

To advance cyber readiness, Congress should ensure the health sector has a champion at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that encourages stakeholders to be proactive and relentlessly vigilant about cybersecurity. Specifically, Congress should pass legislation that would elevate the HHS Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) as a peer of the HHS Chief Information Officer (CIO) and require the CISO’s responsibilities to include both internal and external portfolios, including responsibility for creating a sector-specific plan to establish goals and priorities for cybersecurity.

Telehealth

Telehealth services, and the technologies that support them, have the potential to expand access to high-quality care for patients in underserved communities (both urban and rural), address provider shortages, facilitate proactive disease prevention and chronic care management, and improve patient and provider satisfaction. However, current law prevents the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services from reimbursing most providers and health systems for telehealth services and remote patient monitoring (RPM).

Congress should take action to modernize the Medicare program by removing barriers to the use of telehealth and other innovative healthcare technologies, such as RPM. Specifically, Congress should pass the bipartisan, bicameral CONNECT for Health Act of 2017 (H.R. 2556 and S. 1016).

INFRASTRUCTURE

There’s widespread agreement that much of our nation’s infrastructure is in need of investment and modernization. Our public health and healthcare critical infrastructure sector is no exception. Congress should support investments in broadband and public health surveillance systems, and workforce initiatives, to optimize use of innovative technologies and support robust public health monitoring and crisis response.

Specifically, Congress should continue to support broadband deployment, particularly for the provision of vital rural healthcare services by modernizing the Federal Communication Commission’s Rural Health Care Program, which supports discounted high-capacity broadband connectivity and broadband networks for eligible healthcare providers. Congress should also adopt the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Vision for Public Health Surveillance in the 21st Century” as the foundation of infrastructure investment in bidirectional, electronic information flow between the public health and provider communities.

TAKE ACTION

Show your support for the 2017 HIMSS Congressional Asks by contacting your Members of Congress through the HIMSS “Virtual March.”

 

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