HIMSS News

Celebrating Outstanding Leadership and Advocacy During U.S. National Health IT Week

Award winners with award

Each year during U.S. National Health IT Week (NHIT Week), HIMSS gathers on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. to recognize U.S. government officials for their outstanding leadership and meaningful contributions to the advancement of health information and technology. Please join us in congratulating this year’s talented group of awardees, recognized at the U.S. NHIT Week Partners Celebration on Wednesday, September 25.

HIMSS Congressional Leadership Awardees

Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro, House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee

Representative DeLauro has been a lifelong advocate for greater investment in public health, prevention, and education. In the 116th Congress, she has been the lead champion on Capitol Hill for federal investment in public health data systems modernization.

As Chairwoman of the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, Representative DeLauro included $100 million dollars in the FY2020 House Labor-HHS appropriations bill, consistent with the ask of the Data: Elemental to Health campaign which is co-led by HIMSS. This funding to the CDC would lay the groundwork for the development of an enterprise-wide public health data superhighway that would enable data to move seamlessly, in near-real time between healthcare providers, state, territorial, local and tribal health departments, and federal public health agencies.

For these significant contributions, we congratulate Representative DeLauro and are honored to award her the 2019 HIMSS Congressional Leadership Award.

Ranking Member Jim Banks, House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Technology Modernization

HIMSS is also honored to award the 2019 HIMSS Congressional Leadership Award to Representative Jim Banks, Ranking Member of the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Technology Modernization.

During his time on the subcommittee, Representative Banks has been has been vigilant in his stance that the VA needs to ensure that EHR modernization is done right, and achieves true interoperability with the Department of Defense (DoD), Coast Guard, and community providers. HIMSS has worked closely with Representative Banks and his staff to provide feedback and technical assistance on amendments and legislation pertaining to VA EHR Modernization.

HIMSS congratulates Representative Banks on being selected as a 2019 HIMSS Congressional Leadership Awardee.

Federal Leadership Award

Seema Verma, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)

As the Administrator for CMS, Ms. Verma has stood as a robust advocate for greater patient empowerment as well as patient control of their own data. Additionally, a major component of the programs she has championed is the prioritization of increased data sharing among all healthcare system participants and across the entire spectrum of care. Ms. Verma’s strong leadership at CMS has led to many significant accomplishments in the health information and technology realm, including transforming the Meaningful Use program to focus on interoperability as well as launching the Blue Button 2.0 application programming interface, through which more than 1,700 mobile app developers have signed up thus far to provide beneficiaries with access to their claims data and help them achieve better health.

Administrator Verma kicked off the MyHealthEData Initiative at a Special Views from the Top Session at the HIMSS18 Global Health Conference, as well as participated in a keynote session panel discussion at HIMSS19 focused on interoperability and patient engagement.

Don Rucker, MD, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology

As the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Dr. Rucker has been the driving force behind the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s (ONC) work to facilitate greater interoperability and data exchange across the healthcare ecosystem, including through ONC’s Proposed Rulemaking to Improve the Interoperability of Health Information, as well as the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement draft guidance. Dr. Rucker was named National Coordinator in March 2017, and came to ONC with an extensive background in emergency medicine and biomedical informatics. Of his numerous significant professional contributions, he served as Chief Medical Officer at Siemens Healthcare USA, leading the team that designed the computerized provider entry workflow that, as installed at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, won the 2003 HIMSS Nicholas E. Davies Award for the best hospital computer system in the U.S.

Dr. Rucker delivered a keynote at the HIMSS19 Global Health Conference and the September 2019 Health 2.0 Annual Conference.

HIMSS State Official of the Year Award

Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, Assemblymember, California District

4 Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry sits on the California State Committee on Health and is dedicated to improving health outcomes through IT, particularly for rural and underserved communities. Recently, a telehealth payment parity bill she sponsored that would require health insurers to pay providers at the same level for virtual appointments as in-person office visits, was sent to Governor Newsom’s desk. Her work and support was also crucial in securing passage of the “Internet for All Now Act” in 2017, which will help rural areas gain internet access in order to provide infrastructure for telehealth and other digital health services in rural communities where access to care is limited. Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry presented remarks at the HIMSS Northern and Southern California Chapters Advocacy Day in May 2019.

Senator Deb Soholt, State Senator, South Dakota District 14

Senator Soholt is Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and Co-Chair of the National Conference of State Legislatures Task Force on Innovations in State Health Systems. In this role, Ms. Soholt leads a forum of state decision-makers to create and shape evidence-based health system policies, and integrate new technologies and methods in ways that improve health while balancing the challenges and opportunities of federal health reform efforts. Ms. Soholt has engaged task force members in exploring policies and model practices relating to telehealth and electronic data transfer to support medical care, and has championed the use of data to improve population health and highlight the value of new genetics technologies within internal medicine. Her work was critical for the passage of a South Dakota telehealth parity law, SB 137, which was signed by Governor Noem earlier this year. She is also a lead sponsor of SB 136, another telehealth bill. Ms. Soholt is a registered nurse and Director of Women’s Health at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center in South Dakota.

HIMSS Government Relations

The HIMSS policy team works closely with the U.S. Congress, federal decision-makers, state legislatures and governments, and other organizations to recommend policy, and legislative and regulatory solutions to improve health through information and technology.

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