The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee today held part two of a hearing examining how to improve interoperability in health care, define information blocking, and improve patient access to care as part of implementing the 21st Century Cures Act.
The hearing focused on the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ recently proposed rules to promote electronic health information exchange.
As urged by stakeholders, including the AHA, ONC and CMS last month extended the deadline to comment on the proposed rules to June 3. CMS also said it plans to adjust the effective dates of the policies in its rule “to allow for adequate implementation timelines as appropriate.” AHA will submit comments on the proposed rules.
Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., also urged CMS and ONC to be thoughtful about implementation, saying that these are complex rules that deserve more time. “The administration should not move too far, too fast on implementing new rules on electronic health information.”
“I’m especially interested in getting where we want to go with the involvement of doctors, hospitals, vendors, and insurers with the fewest possible mistakes and the least confusion,” he continued. “We don’t need to set a record time to get there with an unrealistic timeline.”
The Chairman also discussed putting together a bipartisan workgroup of senators to further study these issues.
Don Rucker, M.D., national coordinator for HIT, and Kate Goodrich, M.D., chief medical officer for CMS, testified at the hearing. 

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