HIMSS has released its “Call for Action” for 2011/2012, summarizing the Society’s top policy priorities for the 112th Congress and the Obama Administration.
Each year, HIMSS creates policy principles for all stakeholders to consider for inclusion as provisions in legislation proposed by the U.S. Congress or state legislatures, or for inclusion in federal and state regulations, to foster enhanced healthcare using IT. Over several months of discussions with a large and diverse group of stakeholders, volunteer members of HIMSS’ Public Policy Principles Workgroup representing core healthcare constituencies found that two key themes emerged: 1) ensure that health IT remains a bipartisan issue; and 2) ensure that political change does not stop or impede the financial incentives for doctors and hospitals to implement electronic medical records.
“2011 is going to be a key year for HIMSS to work collaboratively with policymakers in a bipartisan fashion at the federal and state level to continue the momentum transforming healthcare using IT,” said Dave Roberts, HIMSS Vice President for Government Relations. “Our member-created Call for Action report offers policymakers concrete solutions that will help promote the adoption and use of health IT to contribute to higher-quality, more cost-effective patient care.”
Out of more than 100 specific recommendations in HIMSS 2011-2012 Public Policy Principles, ten have been identified as top priorities for policymakers to address:
•Supporting the National Quality Forum’s National Priorities Partnership
•Ensuring a consolidated communications tool and comprehensive roadmap for Meaningful Use
•Defining each new Meaningful Use stage at least 18 months before the beginning of the next stage
•Establishing grievance processes for providers for Meaningful Use
•Developing an open and transparent Electronic Health Record (EHR) certification criteria process
•Supporting the establishment of an informed patient identity solution
•Expanding and making permanent the current Stark exemptions and anti-kickback safe harbors for EHRs
•Eliminating the Business Associate Agreement (BAA) requirement
•Providing grants and other incentives to establish Health IT Action Zones; and
•Aligning federal policy to facilitate electronic business processes
Over the course of its 50-year history, HIMSS has dedicated itself to the cause of improved quality, safety, access, and cost-effective healthcare through the optimal use of IT. As a caused-based organization, HIMSS has long supported federal funding for widespread adoption and appropriate use of health IT to contribute to higher-quality, more cost-effective patient care. With the federal electronic health records incentive program in place, the once-slow adoption rate of health IT has increased. Thanks to the leadership and expertise of its members, each year HIMSS publishes over 200 new tools, publications, and resources to equip stakeholders eager to achieve meaningful use status and transform healthcare through IT.