Health IT Now Honors Congressional Champions with “Health IT Pioneer” Award

WASHINGTON, DC (December 13, 2017): Health IT Now – a broad-based coalition of patient groups, provider organizations, employers, and payers supporting health information technology to improve patient outcomes  – presented its annual Health IT Pioneer awards, the organization’s highest honor, to select Members of Congress at a reception Tuesday evening.

The Health IT Pioneer awards recognize legislators who have aggressively pushed for technology-enabled solutions to spur improvements in healthcare. Coinciding with the launch of HITN’s Patient Safety Network Alliance – a new task force within HITN dedicated specifically to combatting the opioid crisis – several awardees were recognized for their support of health IT measures to address prescription drug abuse, such as enhanced prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) and reforms to the law known as 42 CFR Part 2, which segregates patients’ addiction treatment history from the rest of their health record. 

ADVISORY: Health IT Now to Hold November 28th Hill Briefing on Telehealth Measures

WASHINGTON, DC: Health IT Now – a broad-based coalition of patient groups, provider organizations, employers, and payers supporting health information technology to improve patient outcomes – will hold a Congressional briefing on Tuesday, November 28th at noon entitled Time for Telehealth: Harnessing the Power of Health IT to Bring Medicare into the 21st Century.

Telehealth is transforming the healthcare system – allowing providers to deliver services when and where patients need them, thereby improving outcomes and lowering costs.

For too long, however, Medicare has lagged behind other health payers in recognizing this technology. Several bills introduced this Congress would take an important first step in bringing Medicare into the 21st Century, but they need a vote soon to make such a reality possible.

Health IT Now Praises House Passage of VETS Act

Unanimous House passage marks milestone in advocacy group’s years-long push to remove barriers to VA telehealth services  

WASHINGTON, DC (November 7, 2017): Health IT Now – a broad-based coalition of patient groups, provider organizations, employers, and payers supporting health information technology to improve patient outcomes  – responded today to the unanimous House passage of H.R. 2123, the Veterans E-Health and Telemedicine Support (VETS) Act of 2017

The bill would remove artificial barriers to telehealth services for veterans by allowing Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) telehealth providers to more easily treat patients across state lines. HITN has led a years-long, multifaceted advocacy effort supporting this policy solution that includedtestifying at a House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health roundtable, assembling two-dozen organizations on a formal letter of support, supporting administrative action via proposed rule, and aggressive media outreach. 

HITN Executive Director Joel White released the following statement on House passage of the bill: 

“Taking steps to help veterans access the care they need on their terms is common sense and, judging by today’s unanimous vote, we are pleased to see that Congress agrees,” said HITN Executive Director Joel White“Telehealth has revolutionized the way we deliver health care in this country yet, for too long, bureaucratic red tape has prevented the most deserved among us from experiencing the full benefits of this technology. This broken status quo has been particularly burdensome to veterans in our rural communities who, without access to telehealth services, must drive long distances to receive needed care. By putting these regulations on the side of veterans and providers, we can bring the VA into the 21st Century and spur better outcomes for the 20 million men and women in its care today.” 

White concluded“Health IT Now thanks Representatives Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) and Julia Brownley (D-CA) for their tireless, bipartisan work on this legislation and urges swift action in the Senate. Today’s unanimous vote of confidence in the House should give Senators all the reason they need to get this bill to the president’s desk without delay.” 

PREVIOUSLY: 
11/1/17- Health IT Now Submits Comments on VA Proposed Rule, Urges Committee Passage of the VETS Act
9/29/17- Health IT Now Praises Proposed Rule Supporting Goals of the VETS Act
9/26/17 – Health IT Now Assembles Broad Group in Support of Bipartisan VETS Act
9/12/17- Health IT Now’s Joel White Speaks at Congressional Telehealth Roundtable
8/3/17- Health IT Now Applauds VA Telehealth Initiative
4/26/17- HITN Expresses Strong Support of VETS Act
11/18/15- Health IT Now Endorses Veterans E-Health and Telemedicine Support Act of 2015
 

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About Health IT Now: Health IT Now (HITN) is a broad-based coalition of patient groups, provider organizations, employers, and payers that support incentives to deploy health information technology to improve care, patient outcomes, and to lower costs. Learn more at www.healthitnow.org.

Health IT Now Urges Telehealth Expansion in Year-End Medicare Legislation

WASHINGTON, DC (November 6, 2017): Health IT Now – a broad-based coalition of patient groups, provider organizations, employers, and payers supporting health information technology to improve patient outcomes – wrote to House and Senate leadership urging the adoption of language to expand access to telehealth enabled services in year-end Medicare legislation. 

In its letter to Senate leadership, HITN specifically advocates for the inclusion of provisions in the CHRONIC Care Act of 2017including language allowing Medicare Advantage plans to offer telehealth services in their basic bids, which HITN seeks to make effective in 2019. HITN also urges the inclusion of language from Sen. Brian Schatz’ (D-HI) bipartisan CONNECT for Health Act

In separate correspondence to House leadership, HITN urges the adoption of telehealth policies found in the Increasing Telehealth Access in Medicare Act, which would allow Medicare Advantage plans to fully utilize telehealth services, as well as the Furthering Access to Stroke Telemedicine Act 2017, and H.R. 3164 (no title), which would improve access to home dialysis therapy. As in its letter to Senate leadership, HITN seeks to make the expansion of telehealth services in Medicare Advantage plans effective in 2019; a year earlier than stipulated in the original legislation. 

HITN noted in both letters that “Medicare lags the majority of other health payers – including Medicaid, the private sector, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program – in covering and reimbursing for telehealth enabled services,” adding that including these provisions in year-end Medicare legislation “will allow healthcare providers to more effectively deliver care when and where patients need it.” 

HITN Executive Director Joel White released the following statement: 

“We know that Congress is poised to take up sweeping, must-pass legislative packages in both chambers at the end of the year – likely rolling a number of Medicare extenders into a single bill,” said HITN Executive Director Joel White“As lawmakers work to continue these key benefits of Medicare, they must not miss this opportunity to also enact reforms that bring the program into the 21st century – staying competitive with the rest of the marketplace so that seniors are not getting shortchanged. The policies we seek to include in year-end Medicare legislation enjoy broad, bipartisan support and, in many cases, have received a vote of confidence from lawmakers already. We look forward to working with our health IT champions on the Hill to ensure these commonsense solutions make it across the finish line before year’s end.” 

Read HITN’s letter to House leadership HERE.
Read HITN’s letter to Senate leadership HERE
 

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About Health IT Now: Health IT Now (HITN) is a broad-based coalition of patient groups, provider organizations, employers, and payers that support incentives to deploy health information technology to improve care, patient outcomes, and to lower costs. Learn more at www.healthitnow.org.

Health IT Now Reacts to Opioid Commission Recommendations

WASHINGTON, DC (November 3, 2017): Health IT Now – a broad-based coalition of patient groups, provider organizations, employers, and payers supporting health information technology to improve patient outcomes – responded today to the final report issued by the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. The report offers 56 specific recommendations for addressing opioid misuse, including five recommendations related to prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) enhancements supported by Health IT Now. 

Health IT Now Executive Director Joel White released the following statement:

“We are pleased to see that the Commission’s final report recognizes the importance of leveraging health IT to stem the tide of this devastating opioid epidemic. Modernizing our PDMPs to ensure full interoperability and data sharing between systems is pivotal to stopping instances of abuse before it is too late. Specifically, the data sharing ‘hub’ described in this report would make important strides towards ensuring that prescribers and pharmacists have a full picture of an individual’s controlled substance use and are able to make more informed decisions for their patients,” said HITN Executive Director Joel White“We continue to believe that changes to the flawed 42 CFR Part 2 law are needed as well, as the current statute risks denying providers access to critical, relevant information about a patient’s past addiction. We appreciate that recommendations related to this subject were included in the Commission’s earlier interim report, and urge policymakers to heed the calls for reform.” 

White concluded“With this report, the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis has offered a worthy roadmap to helping eradicate the cancer of opioid abuse. Now it is incumbent upon Congress and the administration to give these recommendations the funding and support they deserve.” 

PREVIOUSLY:
Health IT Now Statement on President Trump’s Opioid Declaration (10/26/17)

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About Health IT Now: Health IT Now (HITN) is a broad-based coalition of patient groups, provider organizations, employers, and payers that support incentives to deploy health information technology to improve care, patient outcomes, and to lower costs. Learn more at www.healthitnow.org.