Healthcare Reform

The Senate is expected to go forward with a major overhaul of the US healthcare system following a vote on Xmas eve. There are several IT issues that are part of the bill and there have been several amendments which include the following;

Items related to health IT include the following:

1. Directing the Secretary of HHS to establish an overall strategic framework for the public reporting of quality measures (integrating health IT in the efforts)
2. Calling for the establishment of a crosswalk between ICD-9 and ICD-10 (updating the crosswalk as appropriate to reflect new revisions of the International Classification of Diseases) and the posting of the crosswalk on the CMS Web site
3.The Secretary of HHS to award grants on a competitive basis to eligible entities to establish national centers of excellence for depression to engage in activities related to the treatment of depressive disorders. Among many things, each Center shall use EHRs and telehealth technology to better coordinate and manage, and improve access to care.

Other exciting news from Capitol Hill includes the introduction of H.R. 4216, the Personal Health Record Act of 2009, a bill to accelerate the use of personal health records (PHRs) by individuals and their providers in order to further engage individuals in their medical care, reduce healthcare costs, and avoid medical errors. The bill is co-sponsored by Rep. David Reichert (R-WA), and Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. (R-LA), and has been referred to the House Energy & Commerce and Ways & Means Committees.

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