Senate Hearing on America’s Health IT Transformation

Senate Hearing Health ITOn Tuesday, March 17, the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing on health IT. This was the first Senate health committee hearing on Health IT since the 2009 passage of the HITECH Act. It centered on examining why goals for “meaningful use” program have not yet been reached. You can view the Full Committee Hearing – America’s Health IT Transformation: Translating the Promise of Electronic Health Records Into Better Care on the Committee’s website. Read the Committee’s press release.

Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) opened the hearing by saying, “Health Information Technology, or Health IT, means many different things—everything from wearable gadgets that monitor your heart rate to sophisticated applications that help physicians track advancements in treatments. Today we will be focused on Electronic Health Records used by hospitals and doctors in their practices.” He closed the meeting asking for legitimate and helpful solutions for the committee to take into consideration.

The Committee heard testimony from:

  • Julia Adler-Milstein, Ph.D. , Assistant Professor of Information, School of Information, Assistant Professor of Health Management and Policy, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. Read her testimony.
  • Robert L. Wergin, MD , President, American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), Milford, NE. Read his testimony,
  • Peter DeVault , Director of Interoperability, Epic Systems Corporation, Madison, WI. Read his testimony.
  • Angela Kennedy, Ed.D. M.B.A., R.H.I.A , Head of Department/Professor, Department of Health Informatics and Information Management, College of Applied and Natural Sciences, Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA. Read his testimony.

Here is what is being reported on.

About the HELP Committee
The committee began in 1869 as the Committee on Education and in 1884 through the mid-1900s it was known as the Education and Labor Committee. In 1999, then Chairman James Jeffords of Vermont, worked to officially name it the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. Currently the Committee is led by Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) and is comprised of 22 Senators; 12 Republicans and 10 Democrats. Under their leadership, the Committee is composed of three subcommittees, which have a broad jurisdiction over our country’s health care, education, employment and retirement policies.