Today the Senate joined the House of Representatives in passing the 21st Century Cures Act, a $6.3 billion package of medical innovation bills that includes $4.8 billion to the National Institutes of Health as well as $1 billion in state grants to fight opioid abuse. The legislation contains a number health IT-related provisions including reducing administrative and regulatory burdens related to the use of EHRs, improving the EHR certification process by focusing on product security and user-centered design, the ability to share patient data, and ensuring that real world testing of the software has been conducted. The Act also calls for the creation of a voluntary EHR certification program for medical specialties for which no certified technology currently exists (i.e., pediatrics). Improving interoperability is also emphasized in the Act, with a mandate to develop and support a trusted framework for exchange of health information between networks, conduct a study on patient matching, and take steps to fight health information “blocking.” President Obama is expected to sign the legislation.
-This article originally posted in the December 7 edition of the MGMA Washington Connection