HIMSS issued its healthcare IT recommendations for the Obama Administration and Congress this morning, stating that "2009 is the year for healthcare reform in the United States." The recommendations were assembled by a 100-volunteer work group that convened from September through December, led by the chairs of the HIMSS Advocacy & Public Policy Steering Committee and Government Relations Roundtable.
The themes of the recommendations are:
- Using at least $25 billion of federal money to get providers to a mid-level stage of EMR adoption
- Elevating the ONCHIT office with more authority and visibility
- Pushing CCHIT and HITSP standards as a condition of government assistance
- Expanding telehealth
- Reviewing privacy policies
- Spending at least $25 billion of federal money ($5 billion per year for the next five years) to help hospitals and practices adopt EMRs, not including additional money for federal and state providers.
- Paying providers to achieve Stage 4 of the HIMSS Analytics EMR adoption model by the end of 2014 in the form of grants, loan, and tax benefits.
- Making funding available only for purchase or upgrade of CCHIT-certified products that meet HITSP interoperability specifications, claiming that "CCHIT has help streamline the EHR market by serving as a trusted source to guide providers when adopting health IT product."
- Expanding Stark exemptions to cover "additional healthcare software and related devices" that are CCHIT certified and that meet HITSP interoperability specifications.
- Codifying and funding HITSP as the National Standards Harmonization Body for five years.
- Codifying a "Senior Level Health IT Leader" in the administration to oversee a national healthcare IT strategy, saying that "ONC has not been codified into law and does not have adequate authority to coordinate health IT activities through all federal departments and the US."
- Authorizing a coordinating body to advise the administration on healthcare IT and coordinate the standards work of HITSP and CCHIT.
- Conducting a White House summit specifically on reforming healthcare with IT to generate consensus and solutions within 90 days of the inauguration.
- Urging Congress and the Secretary of HHS to establish a "patient identify solution."
- Supporting "the routine updating of codes and coding systems for effective healthcare delivery and payment."
- Mandating that reimbursement by paper checks be prohibited for payors and providers of federally funded programs, replacing them with direct deposit by December 31, 2010.
- Expanding the FCC’s Rural Health Care Pilot for telehealth.
- Paying providers for telehealth services.
- Providing incentives for providers and payors to participate in HIEs and the Nationwide Health Information Network.
- Creating a roadmap for using PHI.