- Another proposal to overhaul health information technology regulation is surfacing in Congress, this one with a powerful Republican name attached to it, that of incoming Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch. While vague on specifics, the measure marks the third recent attempt by Congress to craft a measure in answer to criticism that the current federal regulatory structure is hindering healthcare technology innovation. The latest bill, called the MEDTECH Act, is co-sponsored by Hatch (R-Utah) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.). The measure proposes changing the definition of devices in the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to exempt electronic health records and clinical-decision support software from Food and Drug Administration oversight.
- Twenty-six Pennsylvania state health centers must remain open, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ruled last Thursday, reversing a lower court’s decision that allowed the state to move forward with shuttering them. The Pennsylvania Department of Health has closed 16 state health centers since last year and had planned to close another 10. The centers support disease investigations, conduct testing and screening for tuberculosis and sexually transmitted disease and offer immunizations. The closures prompted a lawsuit from several state lawmakers and the Service Employees International Union Healthcare Pennsylvania.
- Major funding cuts on the horizon could eliminate or significantly reduce the ability of many safety net hospitals to provide care for the uninsured and underinsured, a study finds. A total of 529 acute-care hospitals were identified as having a “high reliance” on funding from the Medicaid disproportionate-share hospital payments program—those whose proportion of Medicaid DSH payments received accounted for more than 2.5% of their total revenue, according to an analysis of 2011 data from more than 2,100 hospitals published this month in the journal Health Affairs.
Another proposal to overhaul health information technology regulation surfaces in Congress, and other news
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