News on Capitol Hill

On April 28, 2015, Representative Gregg Harper (R-MS) http://harper.house.gov introduced the “Telehealth Enhancement Act” (H.R. 2066) to promote and expand the application and coverage of telehealth under Medicare and other Federal healthcare programs.

There is bipartisan support and the bill has been referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce http://energycommerce.house.gov and to the Committee on Ways and Means http://waysandmeans.house.gov. Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) http://cochran.senate.gov plus other sponsors in the near future are expected to introduce a companion bill to the House version.

The Senate HELP Committee www.help.senate.gov Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) www.alexander.senate.gov and ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) www.murray.senate.gov have just established a working group to identify ways to improve EHRs. The working group will hear input from health professionals, health information developers, government agencies, and other experts specializing in health IT.

The goals are to provide and improve interoperability between different electronic record vendors and health professionals, leverage health information technology capabilities to improve patient safety, and help patients obtain user-friendly access to their personal records.

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