HIMSS opposes current Stark health IT bill

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Society says government should not develop an open-source health IT system. Image Source: Third Health IT Summit  

The leaders of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) have requested that Reps. Pete Stark, D-Calif., and Dave Camp, R-Mich., implement some modifications to their newly introduced health IT legislation.

Charles Christian, chairman of the HIMSS board and H. Stephen Lieber, president and CEO of HIMSS, sent a letter about the “Health-e Information Technology Act of 2008,” (H.R. 6898), introduced Sept.15 by Stark, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Health.

HIMSS said that it has concerns with the potential discounting of American Health Information Community (AHIC) 2.0, and believes the federal government should not develop or provide an open-source “health IT system.”

Specifically, the letter said that HIMSS has concerns with the following provisions in the legislation:

  • Establishment of a “Health IT Advisory Committee” to advise the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONCHIT): The letter said that establishing such a committee “would dismantle the work that the federal government and private sector have already achieved in transitioning the federal healthcare IT advisory committee, the AHIC, into the private sector.”
  • Development of an open-source “health IT system” through the auspices of the ONCHIT: Christian and Lieber said that the “development, routine updating and provision of an open source “healthcare IT system” is not the role of the federal government and such product development should remain in the private sector.”

The HIMSS leaders concluded that “with some modifications to your legislation, we can find common ground on final healthcare IT legislation that meets stakeholders’ goals.”