HIMSS urges Congress to exempt privately-funded educational travel in lobby reform legislation

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Representatives of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) sent letters to key leaders and oversight committees in the U.S. Congress urging them “to exempt privately funded educational travel in any legislation to reform laws regulating lobbying activities.”

In their letters, President and CEO H. Stephen Lieber, CAE, and HIMSS Board Chair Blackford Middleton, MD, MPH, MSc, FACMI, FACP, FHIMSS, said they “urgently request that you not destroy educational opportunities for members of Congress and their staff to receive information on complex issues due to the current lobbying scandal. We understand that lobbying rules must be tightened to prevent abuse, but we do not want to ‘throw out the baby with the bathwater’.”

As one of the largest healthcare IT trade associations, HIMSS represents more than 17,000 individual members and the 276 corporate members who employ more than 1.2 million people across the United States.

HIMSS supports the American Society of Association Executives’ (ASAE) proposal to include a pre-approval system for all trips, whereby an ethics committee or advisory office would scrutinize all incoming requests for privately funded travel by members of Congress or their staff.