Legal experts are debating the extent to which HIPAA regulations are preventing states from reporting certain medical data to the federal gun-purchase background check database. The Obama administration is looking into easing some of the legal barriers under HIPAA. Reuters.
HHS' Office of the Inspector General has published a final rule allowing state Medicaid fraud units to use federal funding for data mining efforts to find fraudulent billing. OIG says the rule likely will save about $72 million from 2014 to 2023. Modern Healthcare, CQ HealthBeat.
In a final order, FDA said it is amending the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to categorize "digital pill" technology as a class 2 medical device. Such technology can transmit messages about a patient's health and drug ingestion from inside the stomach. The Hill's "RegWatch."
A preliminary bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee allocates $344 million for a joint, integrated electronic health system between the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. The funds must go toward the creation of an open-architecture system. NextGov.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a bill that calls on FDA to propose rules to track prescription drug distribution. The committee rejected an amendment to create an electronic unit-level tracking system. The Hill's "RegWatch," Cleveland Plain Dealer.
In a letter to federal officials, the American Hospital Association wrote that regulatory protections for electronic health record donations should be made permanent. The federal government recently proposed extending the protections through 2016. AHA News et al.
White House and HHS officials say they have taken several steps to ensure that health insurance exchanges will be operational by Oct. 1. However, to hit that deadline, officials will need to ensure that a host of technological systems are functioning effectively. USA Today.
The Office of Management and Budget has issued a new policy requiring federal agencies to make data more accessible and searchable. The Obama administration also released an online resource to aid research on links between climate change and health. FierceHealthIT et al.
Thirty health care and patient safety organizations have sent a letter asking Congress to approve $31.5 million to support CDC's National Health Care Safety Network -- which tracks health care-associated infections -- as well as a related CDC program. Health Data Management.
The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health has advanced a draft bill to increase oversight of the country's prescription drug supply. Unlike similar draft legislation introduced in the Senate, the House proposal would not require FDA to implement electronic tracking tools. However, the House proposal would allow for electronic prescription labeling. The Hill's "RegWatch" et al.
An FDA spokesperson says that it likely will be at least seven weeks before the agency releases a final rule creating a unique device identification system. A UDI system would allow FDA to electronically track and recall problematic medical devices. Modern Healthcare.
During a "listening session" sponsored by CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, officials from the American Medical Association and other groups offered input on using electronic health record systems for billing and coding. Modern Healthcare et al.
The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Academy of Family Physicians have responded to a request for information about how the federal government could promote health data exchange. American Medical News.
CMS and HHS are partnering with data analytics firm Archimedes to expand access to de-identified Medicare claims data. As part of the project, Archimedes is providing an online portal to help users query information. The project aims to accelerate the development of software that could leverage analytics to improve care and reduce costs. Clinical Innovation & Technology et al.
Sixty-seven senators have sent a letter asking President Obama to help the Department of Veterans Affairs resolve its disability claims backlog. VA officials say that a paperless claims processing system is key to ending the backlog. Washington Post's "Federal Eye," NextGov.