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U.S. GAO appoints new members to HIT Advisory Committee

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently appointed 15 new health IT experts to the also new Health Information Technology (HIT) Advisory Committee, a press release said.

“The 21st Century Cures Act established this committee to provide recommendations to the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology on policies, standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria relating to the implementation of a health information technology infrastructure that advances the electronic access, exchange, and use of health information,” Nikki Clowers, GAO’s managing director for Health Care, said in an email.

Clowers added that the appointed members of the committee are expected to actively participate in achieving the committee’s goals.

“The Act requires that members reflect a wide variety of experiences and expertise, including providers, consumers, health information technology developers, and others,” Clowers said.

And just by looking at the 15 new appointees, it is apparent that the U.S. GAO works to appoint members of many different backgrounds.

In the press release, the U.S. GAO listed the newly appointed members and provided brief biographies. Some of the members have a background in telehealth, such as Michael Adcock, executive director of the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Center for Telehealth. Others come from the payer side of healthcare, such as Sheryl Turney, senior director of All-Payer Claims Database Analytics and Data Policy and Administration at Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. And some come from the vendor side of health IT, such as Andrew Truscott, managing director for Health and Public Service at Accenture.

“We strive to appoint members with a diversity of views, experience and expertise who, collectively, reflect the characteristics in the Act and can credibly engage on a range of health IT policy issues that come before the committee,” Clowers said.

In the press release, Gene Dodaro, comptroller general of the United States and head of the U.S. GAO, said, “It is extremely valuable to have a range of perspectives and expertise in helping the government address challenges related to health information technology,” Dodaro said. “GAO received nominations for many highly qualified individuals, and I’m pleased to announce this first round of appointments to the HIT Advisory Committee.”

The HIT Advisory Committee has not yet held its first meeting, Clowers said. The 21st Century Cures Act requires the Comptroller General of the United States to appoint at least 14 members to the HIT Advisory Committee, with 11 additional members appointed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Majority and Minority leaders of the Senate, and the Speaker and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.  Not all appointments have been made, she said. This new committee replaces the HIT Policy Committee and HIT Standards Committee.