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HIMSS sees gold in Obama health plan

Pass this plan as-is and another $25 billion bites the dust. Hopefully the new Administration has learned not to let industry write its regulations for it.

HIMSS logoThe auto industry came to Washington a month ago and asked for a $25 billion bailout. Amid great publicity they were booed off the stage.

Yesterday the health IT industry basically asked for the same thing, and there was barely a peep.

The HIMSS A Call to Action, released yesterday, asks the new Administration for that much just to put Electronic Health Records (EHRs) in hospitals and offices which don't have them now.

The plan also wants the Administration to mandate use of HITSP, a standards group within the American National Standards Institute with which it holds influence.

HIMSS also wants rules against self-dealing, waived two years ago in order to get EHRs going, extended to cover any software or devices HITSP may approve.

Also, it wants a gatekeeper, the appointment of a "Senior Level Health IT Leader within the Administration to oversee a national health IT strategy." Want to bet that person will come from one of the industry incumbents?

The plan is already well-greased, because the press release on it includes a quote from Rep. Patrick Kennedy, who chairs a caucus on health IT.

It is positive that the industry is moving toward standards, but these are negotiated standards, agreed-to by industry, rather than open standards openly arrived at.

Pass this plan as-is and another $25 billion bites the dust. Hopefully the new Administration has learned not to let industry write its regulations for it.