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FDA reform, privacy law standards needed in next healthcare overhaul, group says

The Healthcare Leadership Council also lists interoperability among six reforms that are essential for the sector.
By Jessica Davis
11:37 AM

The Healthcare Leadership Council has identified six healthcare reforms that should be implemented by the White House, Congress and the healthcare industry to reform healthcare; it was announced last week at a Capitol Hill briefing and in a report highlighting the changes.

For starters, nationwide health information interoperability in the private sector should be achieved by December 31, 2018, the group said.

The group also targeted the Food and Drug Administration, saying reforms that focus on reducing administrative burdens placed on the organization should be enacted so the FDA can better bring innovative treatments and technology to patients.

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“These steps aren’t revolutionary, but they're transformative,” said HLC President Mary R. Grealy, in a statement. “Innovation is too often put on the backburner when we discuss healthcare policy, but it’s critical to elevating health system value and to address quality and cost challenges."

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also needs to improve the Enhanced Medication Therapy Management Model to reach its goal of improving patient health and should implement best practices for Medicare, insurers and healthcare providers to improve care for the chronically ill, the group said.

The federal government should reform outdated physician self-referral and anti-kickback statutes and expand Medicare payment waiver policies to protect against fraud and abuse, while improving care coordination.

Cybersecurity also needs focus, the group said, pointing to Congress and the states to standardize privacy laws and increase access to patient data.

The recommendations are compiled from the HLC's National Dialogue for Healthcare Innovation initiative – a collaboration of patient advocacy leaders, drug company representatives, patient advocacy leaders, patient groups and other industry experts that convened over the course of a few months.

David Barrett, CEO of Lahey Clinic and Bill Hawkins, chairman and CEO of Medtronic, co-chaired the group.

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“There's a widespread understanding that, for all of our healthcare system’s considerable strengths, we need to make strides in providing high-quality care at sustainable costs," Susan DeVore, president and CEO of Premier, Inc. and HLC chair, said in a statement. "The six steps on which we have reached agreement will move us significantly in that direction."

HLC has begun meetings with congressional leaders about the recommendations and will continue the conversations in the coming weeks. The compiled recommendations were produced by a partnership with NORC, the independent public policy research organization at the University of Chicago.

Twitter: @JessiefDavis