Politico Pro: Alexander promises deeper dive in addressing EHR issues

Posted on May 28, 2015

The Senate HELP Committee will go “more in depth” than the House Energy and Commerce Committee to fix problems with the electronic health records systems built up with $30 billion in federal incentive programs, Chairman Lamar Alexander said today. A special workgroup, which includes him and Washington Sen. Patty Murray, has been meeting weekly with staff from ONC and the office of NIH Director Francis Collins to identify ways to improve EHRs, he said.

Alexander also told POLITICO that he plans hearings over the summer and that E&C Chair Fred Upton is fine with the plan. 

Upton’s 21st Century Cures legislation lacks elements dealing with EHRs, except for Rep. Mike Burgess’s bill to penalize EHR vendors and providers who practice “information blocking.” Burgess’s measure has met little positive reception thus far.

Alexander’s comments came following a workshop at Vanderbilt University to contribute to the shaping and launch of President Barack Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative.

“Having a good system of electronic medical records is absolutely essential to  precision medicine,…and our electronic medical record system is in the ditch,” Alexander said.