Mid-Year 2015-16Advocacy Corner

Advocacy Committee Updates

by John Conklin, Advocacy Committee Member and Chair-Elect 

HIMSS believes that lives can be saved, outcomes of care improved, and costs reduced by transforming the healthcare system through the appropriate use of information technology (IT) and management systems.

HIMSS mobilizes its members around the country and seeks to perform multiple levels of outreach activities to members of Congress and their staff through a variety of initiatives, providing accurate information about health information technology (IT) to help them make effective public policy decisions. One such activity is a Public Policy Summit held during National Health IT Week; which this year was October 5-9.

As a member of our Advocacy Committee and Chair-Elect for said committee, I had the opportunity to represent our chapter at the HIMSS Policy Summit on October 7-8 in Washington, DC.

The Summit was also attended by SoCal Chapter President Sri Bharadwaj, two members of the Northern California Chapter, and numerous other HIMSS leaders and members from all around the country.

Attendees of the Summit have approximately one and a half days of meetings and informative, educational, and inspirational presentations and panel discussions to learn about emerging issues in health IT and related policy, priorities and challenges. Additionally, Summit participants also learn how to develop effective communication strategies when meeting with legislators and engaging with them on health IT policy.

The key participant activity of the Policy Summit happens the latter part of the second day where all of the attendees embark on pre-scheduled Congressional Office visits to engage our legislative leaders and/or their staff on the top HIMSS Congressional Asks

It is during this time that we met with staff for the offices of Senator Barbara Boxer, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Representative Loretta Sanchez (CA-46), Representative Scott Peters (CA-52) and Representative Darrell Issa (CA-49). We had joint meetings with our colleagues from the Northern CA HIMSS chapter when visiting Senators Boxer and Feinstein.

It was a great experience as we were able to meet HIMSS members from around the country and learn more about the top HIT policy matters within HIMSS. We learned a great deal of respect on how the legislative process not only works, but in some sense, how it also “feels".   We found that our efforts to visit the many Congressional Hill offices requires much walking within and between Senate and Congressional buildings.

Become informed and get involved! Distributed via email and published every Friday on the HIMSS Web site, the Health IT Policy Update E-Newsletter is packed with detailed analysis of the latest news surrounding the economic recovery bill, healthcare reform, initiatives and announcements from federal departments, and the Society’s role in transforming the healthcare industry.

Subscribe to the Health IT Policy Update Newsletter here.

Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015

by Ian Slade, Vice President, Advocacy

On October 27, 2015, S. 754 The Cyber security Information Sharing Act of 2015 was passed by the House and Senate. This important legislation will improve our Cybersecurity capabilities by promoting the voluntarily sharing and receiving of real time threat indicators and defensive measures between the public and private sectors. 

Additionally, an amendment authored by HELP Committee Chairman Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Murry (D-WA), and included in the Manager’s Amendment, would (among other things) create a healthcare industry  Cybersecurity Task force to analyze challenges and barriers to the sector securing itself against cyber threats and establish a plan for a single information sharing pipeline of actionable cyber threat intelligence from the government to the private sector in near real time, through a no-cost mechanism.  It also directs the HHS Secretary to develop a voluntary, health-specific cyber security framework through a collaborative, multi-stakeholder process.

This amendment directly reflects HIMSS’ 2015 Congressional Ask #2 – Support Healthcare’s Efforts to Combat Cyber Threats, and would help create the infrastructure and support needed by the healthcare community to better identify and more effectively defend against growing cyber threats. This legislation is an important milestone in our efforts to ensure our healthcare data is protected and secure as we push for more inter-operability among different sectors within our industry. 

For more details, please go to:  https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/754

Another First for Our HIMSS SoCal Advocacy Committee: Now Available - The Advocacy 101 Video Series

by Ian Slade, Vice President, Advocacy

Advocacy 101 Video series development support from Leslie Bruce, Director of Healthcare Leadership and Community Outreach at UCSD Extension, Geri Pavia and John Petring, HIMSS SoCal Committee Members

Learn about the Basics of Advocacy! Our Chapter’s Advocacy Committee continues to innovate and provide valuable insight and content for our Chapter Membership. With assistance from UCSD Extension, the team has now developed the first of an Introductory Series to help HIMSS Members become familiar with the fundamentals of Advocacy work – and we all know it takes dedicated work to influence the direction of critical healthcare legislation underway.

The first release includes 5 fifteen minute sessions to help our Members get started:

  • Advocacy - what it's about
  • How to prep for a legislative office visit
  • How to survive the actual visit
  • Follow-up and relationship building
  • HIMSS specific advocacy

We extend our appreciation to the entire team that worked diligently to develop and record this series. This is an extremely valuable tool for all HIMSS Members and reflects our Chapter’s ongoing leadership at regional and national levels.

Watch the videos here on our YouTube Channel.

Leslie Bruce and Ian Slade in the studio.

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