PA HIT Day 2018 - Advocacy Day on the Hill

May 1, 9:00am, EDT - 5:00pm, EDT

Tuesday, May 1, is PA HIT Day 2018. Legislative and executive branch leaders will discuss legislative and other government progress toward advancing health information technology in the Commonwealth via a webinar at the PA state capital.  Representatives from DVHIMSS, Western PA HIMSS and Central PA HIMSS will visit the State Capitol and discuss challenges.

2018 Asks: The four Asks for 2018 will focus on:

1. Telehealth: Support improved access to care for rural Pennsylvanians through the expanded use of telehealth by passing Senate Bill 780, The Telemedicine Act.

Telehealth has the potential to offer rural Pennsylvanian’s improved access to quality care but still is impeded by numerous obstacles. Telehealth also has the opportunity to improve access to patients in urban areas, where appointments are difficult to obtain. The Telemedicine Act, in combination with the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact Act (HB 1619) passed in 2016, was signed into law on October 26, 2016 as Public Law 891 an has the potential to bring value to all stakeholders, improve quality outcomes, and reduce costs.

2. Opioids: Support the use of Health Information and Health Information Technology via strategic alignment with the CDC’s “Enhanced State Opioid Overdose Surveillance (ESOOS)” program, law enforcement, emergency services, mental health services, veterans’ services, prescription services, and school health services.

Pennsylvania’s Opioid Crisis is a multi-dimensional problem. Solutions must be envisioned via a multi-dimensional approach using Health Information Technology as an effective cross-dimensional enabler. PA Governor Tom Wolf has pledged funding that targets the Opioid Crisis. We ask that you support funding further, analysis, and implementations to help reduce the 999 deaths that occur in Pennsylvania annually. Pennsylvania had the nation's fourth-highest rate of drug overdose deaths in 2017. An estimated 5,200 Pennsylvanians died of opioid overdose in 2017 – a 44% increase over 2016. Solutions include the use of “actionable” data analytics, along with increasing communication among local and state healthcare and enforcement authorities.

3. Veteran Suicide: Continue to support the implementation of current programs related to suicide issues and overuse of medication used for pain (which have a significant abuse potential) impacting Pennsylvania veterans and consider recommendations including innovative uses of health information technology for suicide-reduction efforts.

Twenty-two Veterans ( commit suicide in the United States each day. We are asking for the legislature to support a review of this issue impacting Pennsylvania veterans and to consider relevant recommendations that may result from the study.

4. Workforce Development: Support funding for workforce development programs to help increase the healthcare and information technology workforce in Pennsylvania.

As the nation moves toward a more technically enabled and advanced health care system, the demand for a highly skilled health IT workforce to help employers in the healthcare sector will increase. These skills are needed to support transition to electronic health records, mobile technology, data analytics and collaborative health management tools. The area of Privacy, Security, and Cybersecurity is also impacted by the need of an experienced workforce. Therefore, we ask that the legislature support the development of workforce development programs and related funding to support the training and development of a skilled health IT workforce in Pennsylvania.