Wednesday, September 14, 2005


HHS Secretary Leavitt Announces Members of AHIC by Scott Weier, iHealthBeat editor September 14, 2005
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt on Tuesday announced the 16 commissioners who will serve on the American Health Information Community, which is tasked with advising the federal government on how to advance President Bush's plan to create an interoperable network of electronic medical records within nine years. Leavitt said the commissioners represent a wide range of interests, including IT experts, providers, researchers and policymakers. "The president has set a national goal to move health care from the paper age to the information age, and the American Health Information Community will help guide this transformation." Leavitt said. "My aspiration is for the community to provide stakeholders with a meaningful voice in a federal process that will ultimately shape health care for generations."Leavitt added that he chose commissioners "who represent key interests and have the broad support of their peers." According to Leavitt, AHIC "will adhere to an aggressive timetable that focuses on the areas of critical need - such as adverse drug event reporting and biosurveillance - as we get about the work of developing, setting and certifying standards."The CommissionersLeavitt, who will serve as chair of AHIC, has assigned the following individuals to serve on the commission:
Craig Barrett, chair of Intel Corporation;
Nancy Davenport-Ennis, CEO of National Patient Advocate Foundation;
Lillee Smith Gelinas, R.N., chief nursing officer at VHA;
Dr. Julie Gerberding, M.D., CDC director;
Dr. Douglas Henley, executive vice president of the American Academy of Family Physicians;
Kevin Hutchinson, CEO of SureScripts;
Charles Kahn, president of Federation of American Hospitals;
Dr. Mark McClellan, CMS administrator;
Michelle O'Neill, acting undersecretary for technology at the Department of Commerce;
Dr. Jonathan Perlin, undersecretary for health at the Department of Veterans Affairs;
Steven Reinemund, CEO and chair for PepsiCo;
Mitch Roob, secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration;
Scott Serota, president and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association;
Linda Springer, director of the Office of Personnel Management
Mark Warshawsky, assistant secretary for economic policy at the Department of Treasury; and
Dr. William Winkenwerder, assistant secretary of defense at the Department of Defense.Leavitt said the federal strategy to promote a health IT infrastructure first will rely on the government to work with private payers to develop and implement "an architecture, standards, certification process and a method of governance for ongoing implementation of health IT." Once the government has laid that groundwork, it will be up to "patients, providers, medical professionals and vendors [to] innovate, create efficiencies and improve care," Leavitt said.Dr. David Brailer, National Coordinator for Health IT, said, "The public-private nature of this group is designed to ensure that this nationwide transition to electronic health records - including common standards and interoperability - occurs in a smooth, market-led way."Reaction from Health IT CommunityJanet Marchibroda, CEO of the eHealth Initiative, said, "This is an important step for everyone working towards health information exchange across communities and nationwide." She added that AHIC will be instrumental in "bringing together both the public and private sectors to provide important leadership to nationwide interoperability efforts." Linda Kloss, CEO of the American Health Information Management Association, said, "The formation of the AHIC will increase the already exceptional level of progress being made under Leavitt's leadership to advance the development of standards and the widespread adoption of health IT in order to improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of patient care in the United States." According to Kloss, a collaborative approach to health IT adoption is important to "address the myriad technical, legal, political and operational issues inherent with industrywide change of this scope and magnitude." Next Steps and More InformationThe first AHIC meeting is scheduled for Oct. 7 in Washington, D.C. The meeting will be open to the public. Materials shared with AHIC before and at the meeting, as well as minutes of the meeting, can be accessed online. A full copy of AHIC's charter also is available online.


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