The AHA supports the intent of draft legislation to accelerate and improve the discovery, development and delivery of new cures and treatments for patients, but would strongly object to any reductions to hospital payments to pay for the proposals, AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack said in May 12 comments to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The committee’s health panel May 14 marked up the legislation – known as 21st Century Cures – to overhaul drug development. It now goes to the full committee. The bill would revise rules for clinical trials, create new incentives for drug companies to study rare diseases, put more focus on patient data to move toward "personalized medicine," and add $10 billion to the National Institute of Health’s budget over five years.

In the letter to the committee, the AHA’s Pollack called for an appropriate level of protection for the security, integrity and accessibility of personal health information. He also expressed concern that a proposal to publish Medicare pricing information for services furnished in hospital outpatient departments and ambulatory surgery centers “could provide a limited and misleading picture of the total price of a given item or service.”

Any additions to the proposal on interoperability should focus on ensuring that vendors are accountable for designing and supporting interoperable products, not impose additional, unnecessary requirements on health care providers, AHA said. And the association urged the committee to eliminate “originating site” requirements for Medicare coverage of telemedicine and expand the types of covered telemedicine services.