The association plans next week to talk about three priorities for Congress: ensuring that the Drug Enforcement Agency issues final regulations that allow electronic prescribing for controlled substances; enacting legislation to provide a broader mix of public and private incentives for health IT adoption; and requiring HHS to study the full cost of implementing EHRs and other IT through healthcare reform.
Barnes said these priorities represent finer points on which to improve the groundwork laid by regulations in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The funding for health IT through ARRA “was a down payment,” he said. Now the federal government should continue to work with the industry to keep various IT components—such as meaningful use, interoperability and transparency—moving in the right direction. “It's very important that we're crosspollinating and sharing information.”
In addition to the statements expected to be made by the EHR association, several events for the week are planned. HIMSS will hold its 8th Annual Policy Summit Sept. 22-23, and there will be a demonstration by participants in the Nationwide Health Information Network on Sept. 25. The Rural Health Resource Center will hold an IT workforce summit as well.
As National Health IT Week unfolds, HHS' breach notification interim final rule for EHR vendors will become effective and enforceable starting Sept. 23. Comments on the rule's provisions will be accepted until Oct. 23. On Sept. 24 the Federal Trade Commission's final rule requiring personal health-record vendors to notify consumers after a security breach will become effective. Enforcement of the rule will begin on Feb. 22, 2010.
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