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Welcome to HIMSS' Health IT Policy Update, bringing you the latest news on legislative and regulatory activities related to health IT from HIMSS' Government Relations office. We welcome your feedback, and if you're reading this complimentary newsletter online or receiving it as a forward, please subscribe.

Federal Affairs

Final Rules for Stark Exemptions and Anti-Kickback Safe Harbors for EHRs Released
On December 23, 2013, CMS and the HHS Office of the Inspector General released final Stark and Anti-Kickback rules extending the sunset date for the Stark electronic health records (EHR) exception and fraud abuse safe harbors, which were scheduled to expire at the end of 2013, to December 31, 2021. In a statement, HIMSS Vice President of Government Relations Tom Leary was pleased to see the rules come out prior to the expiration of the previous exemptions. “Although we encourage the elimination of the sunset provision, we appreciate the extension of the program to 2021 to provide certainty to stakeholders.” Click the link to learn more and to access a HIMSS Fact Sheet.

ONC Plans Survey to Evaluate REC Program
In a Federal Register notice, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has submitted an Information Collection Request to the Office of Management and Budget.  ONC is seeking approval for a survey of small physician practices “to determine whether there is an association between REC participation and the use of technical assistance, EHR adoption, and achievement of meaningful use of electronic health records by primary care practices.” Click the link to learn more.

HIMSS Seeks Innovator in Residence to work with HHS on Patient Data Matching Strategy
Through HHS’s existing “Innovator in Residence” (IIR) program, HIMSS and HHS are collaborating to move forward on the creation of a nationwide patient data matching strategy. HIMSS is currently recruiting an IIR to develop a vision, strategy, and implementation plan for the near-term deployment of consistent patient data matching in health that builds on the body of work from ONC and healthcare community partners.  The person hired for this two-year opportunity will be a HIMSS employee who will work onsite in the office of the HHS Chief Technology Officer. Click the link above to learn more and to apply.

Congressional Affairs

Bill Mandates Reporting of PII Breaches by Insurance Exchanges
On December 19, 2013, Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) introduced the One Hour Notification Act of 2013, the “OH No Act” (H.R. 3795). The legislation requires HHS to notify Congress and the individuals impacted when a breach of personal identifiable information (PII) occurs by a system maintained by the Health Insurance Exchanges created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Click the link to learn more.

President Signs “Pathway for SGR Reform” Act
On December 26, 2013, President Obama signed into law the Pathway for SGR (Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate) Reform Act of 2013. This new law prevents a scheduled payment reduction for physicians and other practitioners who treat Medicare patients from taking effect on January 1, 2014, and provides for a 0.5 percent increase for services through March 31, 2014. Congress and the Administration appear committed to a permanent solution to eliminating the SGR formula in the existing statutory methodology.  Click the link to learn more.

SGR Repeal and Medicare Beneficiary Access Act Introduced in the Senate
On December 19th, Senate Finance Committee Chair Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) introduced S 1871, the SGR Repeal and Medicare Beneficiary Access Act of 2013.  The bill largely follows the SGR reform discussion white paper jointly developed by the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee and announced in November.  Click the link to learn more.

Boustany Introduces Stark Administrative Simplification Act
Rep. Charles W. Boustany, Jr., MD (R-LA) has introduced HR 3776, the Stark Administrative Simplification Act. The bill would amend Title XVIII of the Social Security Act “to create alternative sanctions for technical noncompliance with the Stark rule under Medicare.”  Click the link for details.

State Affairs

New Hampshire Prefiles Health IT Bills
The New Hampshire General Court will consider several health IT bills in the 2014 session when it convenes on Wednesday, January 8, 2014. Click the link for details.

Vermont Addresses Data Protection & Security Breaches with Prefiled Legislation
On December 21st Vermont Senator Jane Kitchel prefiled Senate Bill 269 which relates to business consumer protection and data security breaches. The Vermont General Assembly convenes on Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at which time this bill may be considered.  Click the link for details.


HIMSS Annual Call for Committee Volunteers Now Open
HIMSS announces its Annual Call for Committee Volunteers for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.  Serving on a HIMSS Committee is an excellent opportunity for professional development, networking and active engagement around key health IT topics, settings and constituencies.  Committee participation is open to all HIMSS members who are not currently serving in other leadership positions within the Society and have maintained active membership for at least the past 12 consecutive months.  Click the link for details or to apply.

Health IT Policy Update is a weekly online newsletter published by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

Copyright© 2014 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission. Contact HIMSS Publications at 33 West Monroe Street, Suite 1700, Chicago, IL 60603–5616;

For information on Health IT Policy Update
Elinore Boeke
Sr. Manager, Public Policy Communications, HIMSS
HIMSS Office of Government Relations, 703–562–8817

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The inclusion of an organization name, product or service in this publication should not be construed as a HIMSS endorsement of such organization, product or service, nor is the failure to include an organization name, product or service to be construed as disapproval.

FDA Touts Innovation
In a late-December blog post, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD highlighted how FDA’s “oversight and regulation, when done right, can be a key driver of innovation throughout society.”  She described FDA’s activities on mobile medical apps as an example. Click the link to read the blog.

Public Policy Event Calendar

HIMSS Events

Health IT Policy Committee Meetings

Health IT Standards Committee Meetings

Upcoming CMS National Provider Calls

mHIMSS Twitter Chat
January 15, 2014

VA HIMSS 8th Annual State Advocacy Day
Richmond, VA
January 16, 2014

ONC Annual Meeting
Washington, DC
January 23-24, 2014

Tennessee HIMSS Advocacy Day
Nashville, TN
January 29, 2014

Georgia HIMSS Advocacy Day
January 30, 2014

Maryland HIT Day 2014
Annapolis, MD
February 6, 2014

HIMSS14 Conference & Exhibition
Orlando, FL
February 23-27, 2014

HIMSS14 Online
February 24-27, 2014

National Health IT Week
September 15-19, 2014

Save the Date!
HIMSS 13th Annual Policy Summit
Grand Hyatt Washington DC
September 17-18, 2014

Keeping Data in Motion: How HIPAA Affects Electronic transfer of Protected Health Information. Access Now.

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Ensure the continuation of your HIMSS member benefits, login to the Member Center to renew your membership today. If you need a paper invoice, request one via e–mail to the Member Services department. You can also renew by phone at 312–664–4467 (option 8, then 2).


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