10.31.17

Murray Continues Bipartisan Push to Ensure New Medical Innovation Law Improves Care for Patients & Families Through Health Information Technology

Senate HELP Committee holds hearing on implementation of bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act, electronic health information reforms

 

Murray: “A strong health IT infrastructure is critical to building a health care system that works for patients and families—and puts their needs first.”

 

(Washington, D.C.) – Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today delivered the following opening statement at a hearing on: “Implementation of 21st Century Cures Act: Achieving Promise of Health IT.”

 

“Along with all Cures does to tackle our hardest-to-treat diseases, confront the opioid epidemic, strengthen mental health care, and advance medical innovation, this legislation also makes improvements to help empower patients and providers with more—and better—information to help drive treatment and improve health outcomes,” said Ranking Member Murray in her opening statement.

 

Ranking Member Murray called on the Trump Administration to implement the 21st Century Cures Act in the way Congress intended by supporting strong investments so that patients and families actually see the benefits of the law. Ranking Member Murray also urged a continued focus on engaging stakeholders in implementing the law and critical new conditions for certification of health information technology.

 

Today’s discussion picks up on a series of hearings Ranking Member Murray and Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) held last Congress to improve health IT for patients, doctors, and for our nation’s larger health care infrastructure, and represents another bipartisan effort led by Murray and Alexander to improve the health and well-being of families across the country.

 

ICYMI, click HERE to watch the full video of today’s hearing.

 

More key excerpts from Ranking Member Murray’s opening statement:

 

“Whether it’s coordinating care between providers being able to look up your own health information online or using a patient’s medical record to catch a dangerous interaction between medicines, a strong health IT infrastructure is critical to building a health care system that works for patients and families—and puts their needs first.”

 

“We now have an important tool at our disposal to better advance this work. And that is the 21st Century Cures Act—something I know we all are very proud of. Along with all Cures does to tackle our hardest-to-treat diseases, confront the opioid epidemic, strengthen mental health care and advance medical innovation, this legislation also makes improvements to help empower patients and providers with more—and better—information to help drive treatment and improve health outcomes.”

 

“First of all, that means making sure this Administration is implementing Cures in the way Congress intended, and that includes strong investments so that patients and families actually see the benefits of this law…I am concerned for one that President Trump has asked Congress to slash ONC’s operating budget—that certainly wouldn’t help our efforts today. And I am also concerned the President did not include anything in his proposed budget for information blocking—requested by ONC and the Office of the Inspector General.” 

 

“Now to be clear: we have seen this Administration continue work started by the Obama Administration to support the development of a framework for trusted exchange of health information, which Senators Baldwin and Hatch worked together to include in Cures. This will help make sure providers and networks don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time they need to exchange information with a new facility. That is very encouraging—I want to make sure they keep at it…and that we continue to engage stakeholders to find the best path forward and implement critical new conditions for certification of health information technology.”

 

Full text below of Ranking Member Murray’s opening statement:

 

“Well—thank you, Chairman Alexander.  

 

“I, too, am glad we are continuing our work on ways to improve the health and well-being of families across the country.

 

“Today’s discussion picks up on a series of hearings we held last Congress to improve health IT for patients and families, doctors and hospitals, and for our nation’s larger health care infrastructure.

 

“This is an area where I am glad we can find common ground, explore common sense steps, and build on some of the great work already being done.  

 

“Now—here’s why this is so important.  Here’s why we are here today.

 

“Whether it’s coordinating care between providers being able to look up your own health information online or using a patient’s medical record to catch a dangerous interaction between medicines a strong health IT infrastructure is critical to building a health care system that works for patients and families—and puts their needs first.

 

“Now—as we’ve discussed—we have made some progress.

 

“Hospitals and providers have made great strides over the last few years when it comes to adopting health IT.

 

“Today, physicians use electronic health records more than ever before. And health care organizations are continuing to share and use electronic health information.

 

“Of course—we have more work to do. And fortunately, because of your efforts, Mr. Chairman, members on this committee, and the overwhelming majority of the U.S. Senate—we now have an important tool at our disposal to better advance this work. And that is the 21st Century Cures Act—something I know we all are very proud of.

 

“Along with all Cures does to tackle our hardest-to-treat diseases, confront the opioid epidemic, strengthen mental health care, and advance medical innovation this legislation also makes improvements to help empower patients and providers with more—and better—information to help drive treatment and improve health outcomes.

 

“So—I look forward to focusing our discussion today on how to best utilize and build on Cures.

 

“First of all, that means making sure this Administration is implementing Cures in the way Congress intended and that includes strong investments so that patients and families actually see the benefits of this law.

 

“Now, quite frankly that’s been an issue with this Administration. I won’t go into all of the reasons why. But I am concerned for one that President Trump has asked Congress to slash O-N-C’s operating budget—that certainly wouldn’t help our efforts today.

 

“And I am also concerned the President did not include anything in his proposed budget for information blocking—requested by O-N-C and the Office of the Inspector General—which helps certify and protect health information.

 

“Again, that’s just two examples, but it does speak to a larger concern.

 

“So—I hope that just as we came together to pass Cures, we can work across the aisle to make sure agencies involved have access to the funding they need in order to continue to make this a success.

 

“Now to be clear: we have seen this Administration continue work started by the Obama Administration to support the development of a framework for trusted exchange of health information, which Senators Baldwin and Hatch worked together to include in Cures.

 

“This will help make sure providers and networks don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time they need to exchange information with a new facility.

 

“That is very encouraging—I want to make sure they keep at it—and that we keep moving in the right direction so that we continue to engage stakeholders to find the best path forward and implement critical new conditions for certification of health information technology.

 

“Fortunately, we have great witnesses here today to help us do just that. I look forward to having you share your expertise with us.

 

“Lastly, I would just acknowledge all the work our colleagues—on both sides—have done and are doing when it comes to health IT.

 

“Like all of you, I am very hopeful we can do more to ensure electronic health records are accessible to patients and families, so that they are able to stay engaged in their care.

 

“With that, I will have some questions for our witnesses.

 

“So I’ll turn it back over to you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.”

 

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