5 Health IT Pieces Of Congress Agenda For 2015

Staff Writer | Government Health IT | January 6, 2015

With Republican majorities poised to take control of the Senate and House of Representatives, the 2015 Congress is expected to address several health IT programs. Although controlling spending and promoting free enterprise remain GOP tenants, the approach by Congress to various health IT issues will vary.  For example, Congress is expected to restrict FDA action in the health IT arena while expanding Medicare payments for telemedicine services, Politico reported.

Here are some of Congress top action items for this year in no particular order.

1. FDA corrections: Many lawmakers believe the FDA should to take a hands-off approach to health IT to enable innovation to flourish. Congress is expected to consider at least one of two bills — the SOFTWARE Act or the MEDTECH Act — that would loosen FDA's oversight of some health IT tools — such as clinical decision support software.

2. Telemedicine: Another top agenda item for GOP lawmakers hoping to expand Medicare payments is telemedicine services — which advocates say would reduce overall health costs. Legislation offered by several lawmakers in the last year would expand the service at different rates. The Telehealth Enhancement Act would waive Medicare’s restrictions for home health services, critical access and sole community hospitals, and in some cases, hospice care, home dialysis patients and homebound seniors...