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  • Writer's pictureJulie Barnes

December 12, 2019

Maverick’s Update

Only What Matters on Health Information Policy

  1. A busy week for people who work on health information: Maverick Health Policy presented to the MITRE team at the CMS Alliance to Modernize Healthcare, the Alliance for Community Health Plans met with OMB’s OIRA to discuss the CMS interoperability rule, the CARIN Alliance held its Connectathon and Q4 community meeting featuring Don Rucker and Aneesh Chopra, AHIP hosted its Consumer Experience and Digital Health Forum in Chicago. Next week: Don’t forget to register for Health Datapalooza (Feb 10-11, 2020) before prices go up.

  2. Not many of the re-released Lower Health Care Costs Act ideas are new -- what is new is a bipartisan, bicameral compromise to manage surprise billing. And yet, two days after the compromise bill was announced, the House Ways & Means Committee issued its own solution to surprise billing, complicating passage of the first one. If the Lower Health Care Costs Act does pass, it would do more than (try to) eliminate high out-of-network provider charges -- many of the bill provisions (14 sections on transparency, 15 on prescription drug costs, one big one on interoperability) echo the CMS interoperability and price transparency rules.

  3. ONC awarded a national data exchange contract to Audacious Inquiry (Ai) for the purpose of expanding PULSE (“Patient Unified Lookup System for Emergencies”), a disaster response system that makes sure qualified healthcare professionals and emergency responders can access health records of displaced disaster victims. Ai and the Sequoia Project (Sequoia has the ONC contract to oversee TEFCA) have a strategic agreement to support the PULSE access to national networks.

One Thoughtful Paragraph

Why does it always take 45 minutes to get to the juicy part of a story in The New Yorker? When Maverick Health Policy read “The Defector” about Roger McNamee, an early Facebook investor turned rabid critic of the tech industry, it was the usual incredibly well-researched piece (by Brian Barth) that makes you feel like you know the subject of the article because you are forced to live with them for 10,000 words or more. But this article struck a chord when, inevitably, it morphed from Defector McNamee’s beliefs about what-is-evil-about-Facebook-and-Google to how he lumps health care data into just another set of information that technology companies use for “malicious behavioral modification.” Really? There can be no possible good to come from technology companies analyzing health care data? We appreciated the quote from the executive director of the Center for Humane Technology: most people “would never say a doctor … shouldn’t have access to information about us, or that they can’t monetize something in their relationship with us. We say they have to monetize it in alignment with our best interests.”

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