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ModernHealthcare.com: Lawmaker Asks HHS for Health IT Oversight Plan

Washington, Jun 12 -


ModernHealthcare.com: Lawmaker Asks HHS for Health IT Oversight Plan
By Joseph Conn

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) is following up with HHS on a November 2011 report from the Institute of Medicine that called for increased public- and private-sector oversight of health information technology.

A first-term congresswoman who serves as chair of the House Small Business Committee's subcommittee on healthcare and technology, Ellmers asked in a three-page letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius what action HHS has taken on multiple recommendations contained in the report, Health IT and Patient Safety: Building Safer Systems for Better Care.

Specifically, Ellmers, a nurse, asked Sebelius for a copy of any HHS plan "to minimize patient safety risks and the associated schedule for working with the private sector as recommended by the report." She added: "If such a plan and schedule have not been issued, please so indicate and note when they may be expected to be completed and provided."

Ellmers also inquired about the status of "development of a mechanism for health IT vendors and users to report health IT-related deaths, injuries and unsafe conditions, as recommended by the report, and a copy of the description or analysis of such a mechanism." She requested, in addition, receipt of "any internal HHS or FDA reports, analyses, investigations, memoranda or other documents outlining the authority, capability and advisability of FDA or other federal agency to regulate electronic health records and/or other healthcare IT devices."

Ellmers asked for the materials to be provided within 30 days.