On Monday, January 26, 2015, HIMSS sent the House Energy and Commerce Committee leadership and other sponsoring Representatives sponsoring last year’s telehealth legislation a letter expressing support for and making recommendations on draft legislation titled: Advancing Telehealth Opportunities in Medicare. The draft bill released January 14th and a HIMSS summary follows:
- Within 4 years, HHS will implement methodology to cover and pay for telehealth services under Medicare part A and B. In developing changes, the Secretary should consider factors that would reduce overall costs such as bundled payments and reforms to the Medicare fee for service program.
- CMS will be tasked to evaluate the potential costs of these changes, and inclusion of telehealth services may not result an increase in overall program expenditures.
- The Secretary may waive any restriction on eligible originating sites, geographic limitations or any limitations on type of healthcare provide who will furnish services.
- The Secretary of HHS will propose a list of covered telehealth services, considering the following use cases:
- Unmet Service Needs (Requesting input on definition or how this criteria would be satisfied)
- Substitute for an in-person visit
- Reduce readmissions and other costly services (Requesting input…by what standard and how would this be satisfied?)
- Services that would allow patient to be moved to a lower level of care (including home health)
- Definition of telehealth services will be amended to allow store and forward technologies in demonstration projects or models.
- State medical board compacts should collaborate to agree upon licensure rules to allow cross-state practice.
HIMSS letter to Congress made a list of specific recommendation and can be viewed here.
HIMSS also signed on to a multi-stakeholder group of associations letter dated January 26, 2015, making recommendation on the telehealth legislation and remote patient monitoring to the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee 21st Century Cures Initiative. The multi-stakeholder group of associations included: ACT-The App Association, American Telemedicine Association, the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved, Baxter Corporation, NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, Panasonic Corporation of North America, Personal Connected Health Alliance, Intel, Qualcomm, Telecommunications Industry Association, and Underwriters Laboratories. The multi-stakeholder group of associations’ letter can be viewed here.
HIMSS also signed onto another multi-stakeholder letter to the Senate lead by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce expressing support for the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (S.2588 in last congress and H.R.234 in current Congress). The U.S. Chamber of Commerce letter can be viewed here.
At end of the 113th Congress the House and Senate passed the Cybersecurity Act (S. 1353) which was signed into law on December 18th, 2014. The bill authorized the Department of Commerce to facilitate and support the development of voluntary standards to reduce cyber risks to critical infrastructure and requires the Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop a Federal cybersecurity research and development plan. It also paves the way for a cybersecurity public private partnership between the private sector and government. The Senate passed a bill to update the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) (S. 2521), that governs federal government information security. S. 2521, the Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014.
Additionally, the Senate passed the National Cybersecurity Protection Act (S. 2519) sponsored by Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), which is the Senate’s version of a House bill H.R. 3696, the National Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Protection Act (NCCIP). The Senate also passed H.R. 2952 the Cybersecurity Workforce Assessment Act amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and requires the Department of Homeland Security to(1) assess its cybersecurity workforce and (2) develop a comprehensive workforce strategy to enhance the readiness, capacity, training, recruitment, and retention of its cybersecurity workforce.
Three other cybersecurity bills were introduced but did not pass the last Congress.
- S. 2588 Cyber Information Sharing Act of 2014 was introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).
- H.R.624 Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Actwas introduced by Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI) on February 13, 2013.
- S. 1180 - Medicare Data Access for Transparency and Accountability Act was introduced by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) on June 18, 2013.
In the current Congress, a House version of the bill is H.R.234 Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, ssponsored by Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD-2) January 8, 2015.