Tuesday, May 26, 2015
The CURES bill, HR6, https://www.opencongress.org/bill/hr6-114/text, was introduced in the House of Representatives on May 19 and referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Ways and Means Committee. The bill received unanimous support two days later in the Energy and Commerce Committee and has bipartisan support although at this point it is unclear whether it really is likely to go anywhere. Its actual content is in flux as new provisions continue to be added.
Central provisions of the bill include increased funding for NIH, use of patients' protected health information without HIPAA authorization for research, provisions allowing pharmaceutical companies to share cost information with health plans' formulary committees, replacing the Health IT Standards Committee with a charter organization to define standards of interoperability, a requirement that the standards be met by 2018, and vendor publication of their application program interfaces (APIs).
The bill has drawn criticism from both privacy advocates and by industry advocates. John Halamka’s critique of the CURES bill can be found here. A discussion of the concerns of privacy advocates can be found here.