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New Members Named to Serve on Health Information Technology Advisory Committee Established in 21st Century Cures Act

Friday, November 17, 2017 - 15:00

Today, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Acting Secretary Eric D. Hargan named three members to the Health Information Technology Advisory Committee (HITAC). The committee, created by the 21st Century Cures Act, is charged with making recommendations to the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology relating to the implementation of national and local health information technology (health IT) infrastructure. These recommendations include, “policies,…standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria” that advance the electronic access, exchange, and use of health information. The HITAC provides the opportunity for stakeholders and the public to provide direct input to HHS about the implementation and use of health IT. The committee is supported by HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). Acting Secretary Hargan has appointed the following individuals to the HITAC: Leslie Lenert, M.D., Chief Research Information Officer, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC (Public Health Appointment) Clem J. McDonald, M.D., Director, Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications, Bethesda, MD (HHS Representative Appointment) Robert Wah, M.D., Global Chief Medical Officer, DXC Technology, McLean, VA (At-large Appointment) The HHS-appointed members join 15 Government Accountability Office-appointed members who will serve for one-, two-, or three-year terms: Michael Adcock, Executive Director of the Center for Telehealth at the University of Mississippi Medical Center Christina Caraballo, Director of Healthcare Transformation at Get Real Health Tina Esposito, Vice President of Information and Technology Innovation at Advocate Health Care Brad Gescheider, Senior Director of Provider and Payer Solutions at PatientsLikeMe John Kansky, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Indiana Health Information Exchange Kensaku Kawamoto, Associate Chief Medical Information Officer, University of Utah Health, and Assistant Professor, University of Utah Department of Biomedical Informatics Denni McColm, Chief Information Officer at Citizens Memorial Healthcare Brett Oliver, Chief Medical Information Officer for Baptist Health Terrence O’Malley, Massachusetts General Hospital and Spaulding Nursing and Therapy Center North End Carolyn Petersen, patient advocate and Senior Editor for Mayo Clinic’s health information website Raj Ratwani, Acting Center Director and Scientific Director of the National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare within MedStar Health, and Assistant Professor at the Georgetown University School of Medicine Sasha TerMaat, Director at Epic Sheryl Turney, Senior Director of All-Payer Claims Database Analytics and Data Policy and Administration at Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Andrew Truscott, Managing Director for Health and Public Service at Accenture Denise Webb, Chief Information Officer of Marshfield Clinic Health System and Chief Executive Officer of Marshfield Clinic Information Services, Inc In addition, six of eight appointments have been made by Congressional leaders: Cynthia Fisher, Founder and Managing Director, WaterRev, LLC Dr. Anil Jin, Vice President and Chief Health Informatics Officer, IBM Watson Health Dr. Steven Lane, Clinical Informatics Director for Privacy, Health Information Security & Interoperability, Sutter Health Arien Malec, Vice President for the Data Platform Solution Line, RelayHealth Steven Ready, System Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Norton Healthcare Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, Chairman and CEO, NantWorks Learn more about the Health Information Technology Advisory Committee on HealthIT.gov. [...]



Readout of Acting HHS Secretary Hargan's Visit to Missouri to Discuss Tax Reform

Friday, November 17, 2017 - 11:30

Yesterday, Acting Health and Human Services Secretary Eric Hargan traveled to O’Fallon, Missouri where he was hosted by the Phoenix Textile Corporation to discuss the need for tax reform in the United States.

Acting Secretary Hargan toured and met with leadership of the Phoenix Textile Corporation which distributes textile products—such as scrubs, laboratory coats, uniforms, linens, and other items—to hospital and nursing homes across the nation. They have been in business since 1983 starting with a handful of employees and today have grown to have over 100 employees. As Acting Secretary Hargan noted in his speech, “This is a really special place — the epitome of the great American tradition of family-owned small businesses: 34 years in business, growing to 110 employees, woman-owned, passed down from one generation to the next. Businesses like this are the backbone of the American economy.”

Acting Secretary Hargan and the Trump Administration understand that businesses like Phoenix Textile Corporation across all sectors, including the healthcare industry, contribute to a healthier American economy and workforce. With this in mind, Acting Secretary Hargan concluded his visit with formal remarks on President Trump’s vision for reforming our nation’s broken tax code.

As Acting Secretary Hargan noted in his speech, “…strong small businesses don’t just create jobs and economic opportunity. They also provide a strong foundation for local communities and a good living for hardworking employees to support their families. In turn, healthy communities and strong families mean healthier Americans, which is why I’m here today. President Trump’s commitment to building a strong American economy, and to all the benefits that come with a strong economy, extends across his Administration.”

To learn more about President Trump’s vision for tax reform, please visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/taxreform and to read Acting Secretary Hargan’s full remarks as prepared for delivery, please visit https://www.hhs.gov/about/leadership/secretary/speeches/2017-speeches/remarks-to-phoenix-textile-corp.html.




HHS Names Patient Matching Algorithm Challenge Winners

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - 10:00

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today announced the winners of the Patient Matching Algorithm Challenge.

ONC selected the winning submissions from over 140 competing teams and almost 7,000 submissions using an ONC-provided dataset.  “Patient matching” in health IT describes the techniques used to identify and match the data about patients held by one healthcare provider with the data about the same patients held either within the same system or by another system (or many other systems). The inability to successfully match patients to any and all of their data records can impeded interoperability resulting in patient safety risks and decreased provider efficiency.

“Many experts across the healthcare system have long identified the ability to match patients efficiently, accurately, and to scale as a critical interoperability need for the nation’s growing health IT infrastructure.  This challenge was an important step towards better understanding the current landscape,” said Don Rucker, M.D., national coordinator for health information technology.  

Winners include:

Best “F-score” (a measure of accuracy that factors in both precision and recall):

  • First Place ($25,000): Vynca
  • Second Place ($20,000): PICSURE
  • Third Place ($15,000): Information Softworks

Best First Run ($5,000): Information Softworks

Best Recall ($5,000): PICSURE

Best Precision ($5,000): PICSURE

Each winner employed widely different methods. PICSURE used an algorithm based on the Fellegi-Sunter (1969) method for probabilistic record matching and performed a significant amount of manual review. Vynca used a stacked model that combined the predictions of eight different models. They reported that they manually reviewed less than .01 percent of the records. Although Information Softworks also used a Fellegi-Sunter-based enterprise master patient index (EMPI) system with some additional tuning, they also reported extremely limited manual review.

The dataset and scoring platform used in the challenge will remain available for students, researchers, or anyone else interested in additional analysis and algorithm development, and can be accessed via the Patient Matching Algorithm Challenge website.




Readout of Acting HHS Secretary Hargan's Visit to the U.S. Virgin Islands

Friday, November 3, 2017 - 17:15

Acting Health and Human Services Secretary Eric Hargan and Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec traveled to St. Thomas today to meet with local officials assisting with response efforts in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI).

Acting Secretary Hargan first met with U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth Mapp and local officials at the U.S. Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency to discuss the ongoing response efforts, and was later briefed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the environmental health of residents of the Islands. Acting Secretary Hargan then toured the USVI Departments of Health and Human Services in St. Thomas, as well as a shelter currently housing victims of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Information on health, safety and HHS actions are available at www.phe.gov/emergency. Public Service Announcements with post-storm health tips are available at https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/psa/index.html. Residents in the continental United States are encouraged to provide these tips to family members and friends in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Updates and health information also are available at:

ASPR - @PHEgov

HHS - @HHSgov

CDC - @CDCgov
 




Readout of Acting HHS Secretary Hargan's Visit to Puerto Rico

Thursday, November 2, 2017 - 12:00

Acting Health and Human Services Secretary Eric Hargan and Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec traveled to Puerto Rico on Thursday to assess the recovery efforts from Hurricanes Maria and Irma, and to meet with HHS officials who are on the ground assisting with the ongoing recovery efforts.

Acting Secretary Hargan first toured the Disaster Medical Assistance Team site located in Fajardo, and praised local volunteers for their assistance in the recovery efforts. He then conducted an aerial damage assessment, and later met with the Puerto Rico Secretary of Health and other local government officials to discuss the latest updates on the response efforts. Acting Secretary Hargan thanked officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Defense, and the HHS Incident Response Coordination Team.

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Acting Secretary Hargan traveled to Puerto Rico on Thursday to assess the recovery efforts.

 

Information on health, safety and HHS actions is available at www.phe.gov/emergency. Public Service Announcements with post-storm health tips are available at https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/psa/index.html. Residents in the continental United States are encouraged to provide these tips to family members and friends in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Updates and health information also are available at:

ASPR - @PHEgov

HHS - @HHSgov

CDC - @CDCgov




HHS activa ayuda para habitantes sin seguro de las Islas Vírgenes de EE.UU. que necesitan medicamentos

Thursday, November 2, 2017 - 08:00

Como parte de la respuesta de todos los estratos del gobierno del Presidente Trump ante el huracán Irma y María, el Secretario Adjunto de Preparación y Respuesta (ASPR, en inglés) del Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos de los Estados Unidos activó su Programa de asistencia para medicamentos en casos de emergencia (EPAP, en inglés) para que los residentes de las Islas Vírgenes de EE.UU. tengan acceso a los medicamentos imprescindibles que necesitan. El programa cubre los costos de los medicamentos recetados para personas sin seguro médico afectadas por catástrofes. Trece farmacias de las Islas Vírgenes de EE.UU. participan en el EPAP. “Este programa brinda asistencia esencial a personas sin seguro que dependen de ciertos medicamentos recetados para proteger su salud luego de catástrofes”, expresó el Dr. Robert Kadlec, Secretario Adjunto de Preparación y Respuesta de HHS. “Invitamos a los residentes de las Islas Vírgenes de EE.UU. que puedan usar esta asistencia que la aprovechen para asegurarse de obtener el suministro adecuado de los medicamentos que necesitan”. Sin costo para los pacientes no asegurados, quienes necesitan ciertos medicamentos durante una situación de emergencia pueden obtener un suministro para 30 días en cualquiera de las farmacias que trabajan con el EPAP. La mayoría de los farmacéuticos que figuran en la base de datos de Express Scripts están disponibles. Para más información, consulte http://www.phe.gov/Preparedness/planning/epap/Pages/formulary.aspx.  Los pacientes pueden renovar sus recetas cada 30 días mientras esté activo el EPAP. También pueden recurrir al programa para reemplazar medicamentos recetados de mantenimiento, algunos suministros médicos específicos, vacunas o equipos médicos que perdieron como resultado directo de una emergencia declarada o como resultado secundario de las pérdidas o daños causados al transitar un sitio en emergencia para acceder al refugio designado. El EPAP ofrece un mecanismo eficiente para que las farmacias inscritas procesen reclamaciones de medicamentos recetados, suministros médicos específicos, vacunas y algunos tipos de equipos médicos duraderos para personas elegibles en áreas de desastre identificadas a nivel nacional. Los residentes de las Islas Vírgenes de EE. UU sin seguro afectados por el huracán Irma y María pueden llamar a Express Scripts al 855-793-7470 para saber si su medicamento o equipos médicos duraderos en particular están cubiertos por el EPAP y para encontrar una farmacia participante. El Presidente Donald Trump declaró a las Islas Vírgenes de EE. UU área de catástrofe de grandes dimensiones el 21 de septiembre de 2017, a raíz del paso del huracán María. El ASPR encabeza el equipo del HHS que prepara al país para responder a y recuperarse de los efectos adversos para la salud que suponen estas situaciones de emergencia, a través del apoyo a las comunidades para que puedan soportar la adversidad, fortaleciendo sus sistemas de salud y respuesta y optimizando la seguridad sanitaria nacional. El HHS es la principal agencia del gobierno nacional para la protección de la salud de los estadounidenses y la provisión de servicios humanos esenciales, especialmente para los más vulnerables. Hay información acerca de las acciones de salud, seguridad y el HHS en www.phe.gov/emergency. En https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/psa/index.html puede acceder a anuncios de servicios públicos con consejos de salud para después de un temporal. Invitamos a los residentes del territorio continental de los Estados Unidos a que compartan estos consejos con sus familiares y amigos en Puerto Rico y las Islas Vírgenes de EE. UU. Hay actualizaciones e información de salud disponibles también en: ASPR - @PHEgov HHS - @HHSgov CDC - @CDCgov [...]



HHS activates aid for uninsured U.S. Virgin Islands residents needing medicine

Thursday, November 2, 2017 - 08:00

As part of the Trump Administration’s government-wide response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) activated its Emergency Prescription Assistance Program (EPAP) for the U.S. Virgin Islands to give residents access to the critical prescription medications they need. The program pays for prescription medications for people without health insurance who are affected by disasters. Thirteen pharmacies in the U.S. Virgin Islands participate in EPAP. “This program provides vital assistance to people without insurance who rely upon certain prescription medicines to protect their health after disasters,” said HHS’ Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, M.D. “I encourage U.S. Virgin Islands residents who can use this assistance to take advantage of it to ensure they have an adequate supply of the medicines they need.” At no cost to uninsured patients, those needing certain drugs during an emergency can obtain a 30-day supply at any of the EPAP participating pharmacies. Most pharmaceuticals listed in the Express Scripts database are available. For more information see http://www.phe.gov/Preparedness/planning/epap/Pages/formulary.aspx.  Patients can renew their prescriptions every 30 days while the EPAP is active. They also can use the program to replace maintenance prescription drugs, specific medical supplies, vaccines or medical equipment lost as a direct result of the declared emergency or as a secondary result of loss or damage caused while in transit from the emergency site to the designated shelter facility. EPAP provides an efficient mechanism for enrolled pharmacies to process claims for prescription medication, specific medical supplies, vaccines and some forms of durable medical equipment for eligible individuals in a federally identified disaster area. Uninsured U.S. Virgin Islands residents affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria can call Express Scripts, 855-793-7470, to learn if their medication or specific durable medical equipment is covered by EPAP and to find a participating pharmacy. President Donald Trump issued a major disaster declaration for the U.S. Virgin Islands on Sept. 21, 2017, due to Hurricane Maria. ASPR leads HHS in preparing the nation to respond to and recover from adverse health effects of emergencies, supporting communities’ ability to withstand adversity, strengthening health and response systems, and enhancing national health security. HHS is the principal federal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves. Information on health, safety and HHS actions are available at www.phe.gov/emergency. Public Service Announcements with post-storm health tips are available at https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/psa/index.html. Residents in the continental United States are encouraged to provide these tips to family members and friends in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Updates and health information also are available at: ASPR - @PHEgov HHS - @HHSgov CDC - @CDCgov [...]



Readout of U.S. Surgeon General VADM Jerome Adam’s Visit to Local Addiction Treatment Facility

Monday, October 30, 2017 - 18:45

Following President Donald Trump’s call to action on Thursday regarding America’s opioid epidemic, U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Jerome Adams visited Phoenix House in Arlington, VA, to highlight work being done by nonprofit organizations to combat the epidemic and hear from treatment experts and other heroes on the frontlines.

Phoenix House offers evidence-based addiction treatment to teens, adults, and families, as well as unique services for pregnant women, mothers with young children, and the military community. During his visit, Surgeon General Adams was able to tour various parts of the facility, meet with current patients and learn firsthand of their experience and treatment programs.

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Surgeon General Adams had the following to say about his visit:

“It was an honor to visit a treatment center today in Virginia as part of a coordinated effort for top Trump Administration officials to hold listening sessions on the frontlines of the opioid epidemic, the day after the President directed agencies to use all appropriate emergency and other relevant authorities to address the opioid crisis and the Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services declared a nationwide public health emergency as a result of the opioids crisis. Empowering local communities and civil-society groups is a key part of the Department of Health and Human Services’s comprehensive strategy for tackling opioid addiction. We enjoyed hearing the perspectives of a number of treatment experts today. We look forward to more such visits to come, as we raise awareness of the crisis that President Trump has made a top priority.”

More information on Phoenix House may be found here: https://www.phoenixhouse.org/




Readout of Assistant Secretary McCance-Katz’s Opioids Listening Session in Nashua, New Hampshire

Monday, October 30, 2017 - 18:30

On Friday, Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, and senior HHS officials visited Harbor Homes in Nashua, New Hampshire.

Along with New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu and Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess, they toured the Harbor Homes facility and held a roundtable discussion with first responders, medical experts, local non-profit leaders, and people receiving treatment in all stages of the recovery process.

Mary-Sumpter Lapinski, Counselor to the Secretary of HHS for Public Health & Science, opened the meeting by welcoming participants and thanking them for their willingness to share their stories. She reiterated President Trump and the entire Administration’s commitment to confront the opioids epidemic and discussed the historic significance of yesterday’s actions.

During the session, recovering addicts shared their personal stories in vivid detail. They spoke of friends and relatives who lost their lives to the scourge of addiction. Community leaders and experts talked about the challenges and opportunities they experience providing services in New Hampshire. They also discussed Nashua’s Safe Spaces Program and its unique approach to providing assistance to those looking to start their path to recovery.

The federal government is marshaling all relevant agencies and personnel to address this crisis. Yesterday afternoon, following a Presidential Memorandum, HHS declared a Public Health EmergencyToday, Acting Secretary Eric D. Hargan, Surgeon General Jerome Adams, Assistant Secretary McCance-Katz, and other top officials are fanning out across the country to hear from communities on the front lines.

The following individuals participated in the New Hampshire event:

  • Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use
  • Governor Chris Sununu, State of New Hampshire
  • Mayor Jim Donchess, City of Nashua
  • Peter Kelleher, President and CEO, Partnership for Successful Living
  • Mary-Sumpter Lapinski, Counselor to the Secretary for Public Health & Science
  • Jaime Gormley, LICSW, MLADC, Director of Residential Services, Keystone Hall
  • Scott Slattery, Director of Housing, Harbor Homes
  • Christopher Stawasz, Regional Director, American Medical Response
  • Chief Steve Galipeau, Nashua Fire Rescue
  • Assistant Chief Brian Rhodes, Nashua Fire Rescue
  • Dr. Garciela Sironich-Kalkan, Medical Director, Harbor Care Health and Wellness Center
  • Allen Irwin, Peer Recovery Support Manager, Revive Recovery Resource Center
  • Harbor Homes patients (names withheld to respect their privacy)



Readout of Acting HHS Secretary Hargan’s Opioids Listening Session in Lexington, Kentucky

Monday, October 30, 2017 - 17:30

On Friday, Acting Health and Human Services Secretary Eric Hargan and senior HHS officials traveled to Lexington, Kentucky, to visit the Polk-Dalton Clinic and the PATHways Program, which serves pregnant women recovering from addiction and their babies. Acting Secretary Hargan toured the facility and held a roundtable discussion with medical experts, local non-profit leaders, individuals receiving treatment and in recovery, and others impacted by the opioid epidemic.

Acting Secretary Hargan opened the roundtable discussion by thanking the group for their willingness to share their stories and for their work to address the crisis in the community. He highlighted HHS’s and the Trump Administration’s continued commitment to address the opioid epidemic and the significance of Thursday’s action of declaring a nationwide public health emergency on the opioid crisis.

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During the meeting, individuals in recovery shared their personal stories, many of which began with addiction in early teen years. One woman shared how the unique approach of the PATHways program has allowed her to stay sober, become a more present mother, and even become a peer support specialist to other women joining the PATHways program. A mother shared the personal story of losing her son to the epidemic and her commitment to educate others about the crisis. Community expert and leaders discussed opportunities and challenges they experience in providing services in Kentucky. The individuals participating in the roundtable shared their personal views that addiction must be addressed as a chronic condition requiring a multi-layered approach to include community connection, innovative treatment and ongoing support.

The following individuals participated in the Kentucky event:

  • Acting Health and Human Services Secretary Eric Hargan
  • Mark Birdwhistell, Vice President for Administration & External Affairs, UK HealthCare  
  • Alex Elswick, Co-Founder, Voices of Hope
  • Dr. Agatha Critchfield, Co-Founder & Medical Director, PATHways Program
  • Nikki Strunk, Parent of Deceased, Brendan Strunk
  • “L,” PATHways Patient
  • Rachel Coburn Smith, Executive Director, Refuge Clinic
  • Cornelia ‘Neal’ Vaughan, Founder, Chrysalis House
  • Dr. Peter Giannone, Chief, Division of Neonatology & Vice Chair, Pediatric Research, UK  HealthCare