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Key health information technology policy initiatives to know

Several new health IT policy requirements originated with the health care reform bill. This tip spells out what they are, who will write them and when they will go into effect.

Most of today’s headline-grabbing health information technology policy requirements came out of the HITECH Act. However, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- colloquially, the health care reform bill -- outlined numerous policies that the federal governent will be writing in the months and years ahead. 

Collectively, these documents will cover health IT topics as varied as medical device regulation, telemedicine, electronic enrollment in state and federal insurance programs and quality reporting of health care data. This chart lists 12 key information technology policy initiatives, names the agencies responsible for drafting them and indicates when they are scheduled to go into effect.


Final rule
Quality reporting
HHS1 Jan. 1, 2012 New asst. secretary for health info will lead effort.
Electronic insurance enrollment
ONC2 Sept. 2010 HITSC3 and HITPC4 will advise.
Electronic health claim status transactions
HHS1 Adopted July 1, 2011; effective Jan. 1, 2013 NCVHS5 will advise.
Electronic fund transfer, remittance
HHS1 Adopted July 1, 2012; effective Jan. 1, 2014 NCVHS5 will advise.
Electronic health claims and other authorization transactions
HHS1 Adopted July 1, 2014; effective Jan. 1, 2016 NCVHS5 will advise.
Reporting requirements for health plans
HHS1 March 2012 GAO6 will review.
Reporting requirements for long term care
HHS1 Adopted Oct. 1, 2012; effective Oct. 1, 2013 Reports from providers to be published on CMS7 website.
Reporting requirements for pre-exempt cancer centers
HHS1 Adopted Oct. 1, 2012; effective Oct. 1, 2013 Reports from providers to be published on CMS7 website.
Strategic plan for health care quality improvement
HHS1, state agencies8 Jan. 1, 2011 To be incorporated into national health IT strategic plan.
American Health Benefit Exchange9
States Jan. 1, 2014 Federal grants available from HHS1.
Medical device data system reclassification
FDA10 Pending (proposed in 2008) Would involve general regulatory control.
CMS7 and TJS11 March 2011 (comment period closes July 26) CMS7 will write standard; TJS11 will implement.

1 HHS = Department of Health & Human Services
2 ONC = Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT
3 HITSC = Health IT Standards Committee
4 HITPC = Health IT Policy Committee
5 NCVHS = National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics
6 GAO = Government Accountability Office
7 CMS = Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
8 Those that administer Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program
9 To facilitate purchase of health plans, especially for small businesses
10 FDA = Food and Drug Administration
11 TJS = The Joint Commission

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