Policy Researchers & Implementers

SFREC wants to be the source you go to for information about the critical health policy issues facing Florida and the nation. We want to inform by providing objective, timely and relevant information for health care providers, professionals, stakeholders, patients and families.

Included in this section will be: state and federal legislation, rules and regulations, research projects and findings, best practices and lessons learned. We will also provide information on how you can become involved, for example, by serving on a regional, state or national Advisory Committee, or submitting written comments either individually, or through an organization on proposed policies or rules.

A brief summary of the major components is listed below:

Health Information Technology (HIT) for Economic & Clinical Health (HITECH) Act

On February 17, 2009 the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was signed into law. This section of the law known as the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, or the HITECH Act designated funding to modernize the health care system by promoting and expanding the adoption of health information technology. The HITECH Act supports the rapid adoption of health information technology by hospitals and clinicians through Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments to physicians and hospitals for meaningful use of electronic health records. It also authorizes grant programs and contracts that support HIT adoption by providing technical assistance to health care provides, training a HIT workforce; as well as developing standards for certification of electronic health record privacy and security which strengthens the privacy and security protections for health information under HIPAA.

Florida Electronic Exchange Act and Privacy Regulations

Florida law requires patient authorization for disclosure of some sensitive health data with certain exceptions in medical emergencies. An authorization form can be used by a patient or his/her authorized legal representative to authorize a healthcare provider to obtain the patient’s records from another provider. It may be used by providers participating in health information exchanges as applicable.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act 

To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the health care system, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), Public Law 104-191, included Administrative Simplification provisions that required HHS to adopt national standards for electronic health care transactions and code sets, unique health identifiers, and security. At the same time, Congress recognized that advances in electronic technology could erode the privacy of health information. Consequently, Congress incorporated into HIPAA provisions that mandated the adoption of Federal privacy protections for individually identifiable health information.

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act) 

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act) was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. The purpose of this law is to assure that all Americans have access to affordable health insurance. The key reforms in the Affordable Care Act should significantly decrease barriers for obtaining health coverage as well as accessing needed health care services.

2012 United States Supreme Court Ruling on the Affordable Care Act

On June 28, 2012 in a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act individual mandate — the requirement that most individuals obtain health insurance that meets the statutory definition of minimum essential coverage. While the Court upheld the authority of Congress to expand the Medicaid program to states that wanted to participate, the Court also held that Congress could not withhold existing Medicaid funds from states in an effort to penalize those states refusal to participate in the expansion.

The Physician Payment Sunshine Act

The Affordable Health Care Act includes the Physician Payment Sunshine Act (PPSA), which requires pharmaceutical, medical device, biological, and medical supply manufacturers to report to Health and Human Services (HHS) any “payment or other transfer of value” to physicians and teaching hospitals. Applicable manufacturers and GPOs must begin to collect required data on August 1, 2013 and report to CMS by March 31, 2014. CMS will then publicly post reported data to a website by September 30, 2014. CMS will also submit an annual report to Congress and each state starting on April 1, 2015. The report must include information about the amount of the payment, the date on which the payment was made, the form of payment, and the nature of the payment (e.g., gift, consulting fees, entertainment). The purpose of this Act is to prevent fraud abuse and waste in the health care system by making the public aware of payments made to applicable health care providers.

The Physician Payment Sunshine Act (The Sunshine Law) can be found in Section 6002 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) 

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), formerly The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) was created by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, enacted Title XXI of the Social Security Act, and has allocated about $20 billion over10 years to help states insure low-income children who are ineligible for Medicaid but cannot afford private insurance. States receive an enhanced federal match (greater than the state’s Medicaid match) to provide for this coverage. In 2007, after President Bush and Congress could not agree on CHIP reauthorization details, the program was extended through March 2009. The Affordable Care Act extends the federal authorization of the CHIP program for an additional two years, through September 30, 2015. States are also required to maintain current income eligibility levels for CHIP through September 30, 2019. Florida KidCare Program is the state of Florida’s insurance program for children.

Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced the new 2013 Agenda, and the opportunity to provide Comments on Request for Information (RFI) until April 21, 2013.

Covered entities and business associates must comply with the applicable requirements of this final rule by September 23, 2013.

Findings and Lessons From the Enabling Patient-Centered Care
Through Health IT Grant Initiative

This report highlights key findings and lessons from the experiences of 16 projects awarded in 2007 under the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ’s) Enabling Patient-Centered Care through Health IT (PCC) grant initiative (Funding Opportunity Announcement [FOA] HS-07-007, http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-HS-07-007.html. This initiative was designed to investigate approaches for using health information technology (IT) to create or enhance patient-centered care. It is part of AHRQ’s Ambulatory Safety and Quality (ASQ) program, which was designed to improve the safety and quality of ambulatory health care in the United States.

Strategic Health IT Advanced Research Projects (SHARP)

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is supporting innovative research to address well-documented problems that impede the adoption of health IT. The knowledge generated and innovations created from this program will accelerate progress toward the meaningful use of health IT and a high-performing, adaptive, nationwide health care system.

The Strategic Healthcare IT Advanced Research Projects (SHARP) program is led by major collaborative efforts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Texas at Houston, Harvard University, the Mayo Clinic of Medicine, and Massachusetts General Hospital.

 Health IT Privacy and Security Resouurces

Get started today! ONC, HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR), and other HHS agencies have developed and issued a number of guidance, tools, and educational materials designed to help you better integrate privacy and security into your practice.

 National Center for Cognitive Informatics and Decision Making in Healthcare

The National Center for Cognitive Informatics and Decision Making in Healthcare (NCCD), located at the University of Texas – Houston, is a nationwide collaboration established in response to the urgent and long-term cognitive challenges in health IT adoption and meaningful use. NCCD’s vision is to become a national resource that provides strategic leadership in patient-centered cognitive support research and applications in health care.

SFREC and its “community of state and federal partners” have contributed their knowledge, expertise and information to this website. We acknowledge their contributions and have included citations as needed.