The short-term bill that will fund the government until March 23rd includes various provisions that promote aspects of Health IT. According to Healthcare Informatics, the bill specifically includes following:
· S. 870: Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2017
· H.R. 3120: legislation to ease the “meaningful use burden on providers and reduce the volume of future electronic health record-related significant hardship requests
· H.R. 1148: the “Furthering Access to Stroke Telemedicine Act of 2017,” which would provide nationwide access to stroke telemedicine treatment in Medicare—currently only available to the most rural, underserved populations
· H.R. 3727: the “Increasing Telehealth Access in Medicare Act,” which would allow Medicare Advantage plans to include delivery of telehealth services in a plan’s basic benefits
· H.R. 3164: This would improve access to telehealth-enabled home dialysis therapy among Medicare beneficiaries.
The CHRONIC Care Act, has a goal to transform how Medicare works for seniors who suffer from chronic illnesses by including provisions such as expanding access to telehealth services. However, there are several restrictions regarding reimbursement for telehealth under Medicare, specifically that patients may only be location in certain rural areas and only defined physicians and practitioners can provider the telehealth services.
Another bill, H.R. 3120 – introduced by rep. Michael Burgess of Texas, aims at reducing volume of future EHR related hardships. It amends the HITECH Act in order to remove a requirement that meaningful use standards will be more stringent over time.
Many hope these bills are a much needed shift that better healthcare outcomes and reduce costs.