Summer 2017 Newsletter - HIMSS Members Advocate for Telehealth and Interoperability Legislation

By Shanti Wilson, NorCal HIMSS Advocacy Chair
Dr. Larry Ozeran, NorCal HIMSS Advocacy Co-Chair
John Conklin, SoCal HIMSS Advocacy Chair
Ian Slade, Western HIMSS Advocacy Chair

With leaders from the National HIMSS office, over 70 members from the Northern and Southern California HIMSS Chapters participated in the annual California HIMSS State HIT Day on May 3, 2017. Our members and colleagues gathered in the State Capitol to advocate for issues that impact California residents.

For the first half of the day, attendees heard from local and national leaders about the importance of having dialog with our elected officials and the key issues on the national stage.

Telehealth presenters Eric Brown, President, CEO of CA Telehealth Network, and Mario Gutierrez, Executive Director, Center for Connected Health Policy

We had a great presentation on effective communication with elected representatives and multiple panel and presentation sessions by industry leaders that covered some of the most significant issues affecting our members today: interoperability, telehealth, and cybersecurity.
The presentations and discussions tied into the event’s afternoon legislative conversations that attendees had with more than 20 state legislators and their representatives to inform them about the importance of two bills: AB-40 CURES Database Access and AB-401 Telepharmacy.

From right to left: Ian Slade, HIMSS Western Region Advocacy Chair; Dr. Bob Wilkov, NorCal HIMSS Board Member; Shanti Wilson, NorCal HIMSS Advocacy Chair; State Senator Ed Hernandez; and HIMSS members

We explained the CURES database is infrequently used by clinicians today because it is an additional step in an already strained workflow. AB-40 would make it possible for clinicians to easily access CURES database information through automatic ‘hooks’ into the database by authorized medical record solutions and providers. One example in which California residents would benefit from this IT automation is that patients’ controlled substance information would be readily available to clinicians. This data can help reduce the opioid crisis that California, along with many other states, is struggling to address.
AB-401 would enable a pharmacy technician in a remote dispensing facility to have the necessary support of an off site, licensed pharmacist as if the pharmacist were physically present. The bill has several safeguards, such as limiting a remote pharmacist to monitoring only two sites. By making prescription medicine more available to Californians in remote areas, people who might not otherwise be able to fill their prescriptions consistently would have a better chance of being medication adherent, thus reducing morbidity and healthcare costs.

CA Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom’s Certificate of Proclamation for HIMSS’ Annual California State HIT Day. From left to right: John Conklin, SoCal HIMSS Advocacy Chair; Shanti Wilson, NorCal HIMSS Advocacy Chair; Ian Slade, Western Advocacy Chair; Dr. Larry Ozeran, NorCal HIMSS Advocacy Co-Chair

The conversations we had in the State Capitol were uniformly positive. Most legislative offices felt these bills could be supported, and some explicitly stated that they were glad to hear HIMSS is a resource to help them with Health IT issues. Our members also had positive remarks including: “It’s really fun talking with legislators” and “I took a lot of notes to take back to my team at work.”

We look forward to hearing from those who attended so we can learn and improve from your experience; a survey - with a chance to win an Amazon Dot - has been sent to all of this year’s attendees.

Get Involved! Help Improve Health and Population Health Through IT
The CA HIMSS Advocacy teams look forward to meeting you!
6/1/17 Update: Both bills passed the Assembly and are headed to the Senate. Great work, team!