The Healthcare Information & Management System Society (HIMSS) has proposed to congress a number of actions to be taken to advance telehealth & health IT efforts throughout the US & under the ACA. HIMSS outlined three formal requests for congressional action.
HIMSS Requests to Congress
1. Expand telehealth services to improve access to care, patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs.
These efforts could see more control over costs, enhance interoperability of health information over secure exchanges, and expand telehealth to rural or underserved populations. Ultimately, this may enable a nationwide realization of the full benefits of telehealth.
2. Minimize the disruption in the US health system caused by federally mandated changes to health IT programs.
With ACA provisions in place to regulate a number of healthcare services, HIMSS has requested there be as little disruption as possible surrounding a patient’s access to telehealth and limit the burdens due to providers. Furthermore, clarification has been requested over the mandated HHS health IT requirements and program changes that may affect the operations of payers, providers and vendors.
3. Provide funding to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to achieve interoperability and security.
Additional HIMSS Recommendations
In implementing the requested actions, HIMSS provided several recommendations that may help congress facilitate each.
- Approve 2015 budget request to allocated $75 million in funding to the ONC.
- Pass legislation that permits the realization of the full benefits of telehealth services such as the Telehealth Enhancement Act of 2013 to expand Medicare coverage of such services.
- Draft and publish a five-year roadmap of all HHS-administered health IT requirements or program changes.
While HIMSS has concentrated specifically on the improvement of telehealth efforts, other areas that are in need of better coordination or governance could include:
- Accountable care payment reform
- Clinical quality measure
- Health IT incentives
- Health information exchange funding
- Health IT standards
- Patient safety
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