Winter 2015Advocacy Update
Legislative Updates from our HIMSS SoCal Advocacy and Public Policy Team
By Ian Slade, VP Advocacy
The HIMSS SoCal Advocacy and Public Policy team is committed to representing the issues and concerns that matter most to our membership. The purpose of the trips to Capitol Hill, Sacramento, and the local visits here in SoCal is to have robust dialogue with our legislative offices and representation. The intent is expand their awareness of our current issues and the impact to our business. We also obtain feedback regarding the bills they are working on that affect Healthcare IT.
Most recently, representatives of our Chapter’s and the HIMSS National teams visited with our State and Congressional representatives’ offices. The Southern California Advocacy Team was represented by Ian Slade, RN, and Sri Bharadwaj.
Over the two days, the team met with representatives from the following legislators’ offices:
- Jocelyn Rivera-Olivas, Health LA Representative for Janice Hahn (CA-44th)
- Brian Alesi, Health LA for Representative Dana Rohrabacher (CA)
- Megan Thompson, Health LA for Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA)
- Tom Rivera, Research Assistant for Senator Barbara Boxer (CA)
- Lakecia Foster, Health Counsel for Representative Mike Thompson (CA-5)
- Erin Katzelnick-Wise, Leg Director for Representative Anna Eshoo (CA-18th)
- Megan Sussman, Health LA for Representative Doris Matsui (CA-6th)
- Adriane Casalotti, Leg Director for Representative Lois Capps (CA-24th)
- Kelly Honda, Health LA for Representative Michael Honda (CA-17th)
- Martin Radosevich, Senior Policy Advisor Representative Zoe Lofgren (CA-19)
- Erin O’Quinn, Health LA for Representative Ami Bera (CA-7th)
The SoCal team was accompanied by the HIMSS Government Relations Team:
- Tom Leary, HIMSS Vice President for Government Relations
- Jeff Coughlin, HIMSS Senior Director State and Federal Affairs
- Rich Hodge, HIMSS Senior Director for Congressional Affairs
- Neal Neuberger, Executive Director for HIMSS Foundation’s Institute for e-Health Policy
- Arnold Simmons, HIMSS Manager for Public Policy Initiatives
- Esther Kim, HIMSS Coordinator for Government Relations
- Steve Pavlick, HIMSS Manager for Congressional Affairs
- Julie Brown, HIMSS Associate Manager for State Government Affairs
Some of the issues discussed included:
- Support for HR 5481- the FLEX-IT Act. This bill will allow eligible professionals and hospitals to conduct their attestation over 90 days instead of the entire year for the first year of Meaningful Use Stage 2. Robust discussions ensued as the team discussed the importance of this legislation to ensure participants are encouraged to continue with the attestation process. Legislative staff members were also encouraged to call CMS and express their concern about the low attestation numbers. CMS has the ability to change the attestation period without the need for new legislation.
- Encourage Federal agencies to create a comprehensive 5 year plan that consolidates all the initiatives for Healthcare to avoid undue disruption in the implementation of various initiatives. Currently there are multiple competing initiatives facing healthcare institutions, including Meaningful Use 2, ICD-10 preparations, value based purchasing, and interoperability. Consistency in mandates will allow for better preparation and implementation of these initiatives.
- Provide the Office of National Coordinator (ONC) with the appropriate funding for them to carry out their mandate. Last year, President Obama included $75 million for the ONC in the FY 2015 Budget submitted to Congress. With the constant influx of resources in ONC, ample funding will help ensure successful implementations of existing programs.
- Support Tele-health initiatives and existing bills to allow for reimbursement of tele-medicine services rendered by providers and healthcare institutions. Currently there are 6 bills pending in the 113th Congress. One of which is HR 3306- the tele-health act of 2013. This is a bi-partisan bill sponsored by Gregg Harper (R-MS) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) that will enhance tele-health coverage nationwide.
Overall, the visits were very positive with rather robust discussions around the Meaningful Use Stage 2 issues. We will continue discussions with staff members and look to foster strong partnerships that will allow HIMSS to better represent the IT needs of our industry.
(Love the Surfboard!)
Advocacy Committee member Leslie Bruce also paid a visit to California State Senator Marty Block's office and shared about the state’s role in HIT and urged them to consider us as a resource for HIT-related issues.
Hilary Nemchik, Field Representative
Leslie Bruce, Director of Healthcare Leadership at UC San Diego Extension
Christopher Ward, Chief of Staff