Soon Shiong Named to HIT Advisory Committee

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has appointed Patrick Soon Shiong, MD, a controversial billionaire entrepreneur, to serve on the Health IT Advisory Committee which replaces the Health IT Policy Committee per last year’s 21st Century Cures Act. The Committee provides recommendations to the National Coordinator for HealthInformation Technology on policies, standards, implementation speci cations, and certification criteria relating to the implementation of a health information technology infrastructure that advances the electronic access, exchange, and use of health information. The Secretary of Health and Human Services and Congressional leadership appoints eleven of the 25 members. The remaining 14 appointments are made by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and are expected in July. Other recently announced congressional appointees include Steve Ready, CIO of Norton Healthcare (appointed by Senate Majority Leader McConnell); and Steven Lane, an informaticist at Sutter Health in the Bay Area (appointed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi). The law provides that the members of the Health IT Advisory Committee include providers, ancillary health care workers, consumers, purchasers, health plans, health information technology developers, researchers, patients, relevant Federal agencies, and individuals with technical expertise on health care quality, system functions, privacy, security, and on the electronic exchange and use of health information, including the use standards for such activity.

Trump Administration Staff Announcements

The White House announced several additions to senior leadership at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) last week. Brady Brookes will serve as deputy chief of staff for the CMS office of the administrator. Brooks worked as Vice President Mike Pence’s legislative director during his time as governor of Indiana. Carla DiBlasio, former advisor to Tom Price during his time in Congress, was named a senior advisor for Medicare. Calder Lynch was appointed senior counselor to the administrator for Medicaid. He has previously worked as a health official in Nebraska and Louisiana. Claire Burghoff, former aide to Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.), will work as a special assistant to the CMS administrator. Jeet Guram was named a senior advisor for the CMS Innovation Center and Medicaid. He has previous experience at the Heritage Foundation. Brenda Destro is a Special Assistant at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Destro previously served as a senior health policy advisor for Senator Bill Cassidy, MD and for the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

This Week on the Hill

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price is scheduled to testify before the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee on June 8. He will field questions about the Administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget proposal, which includes significant cuts to biomedical research and the Medicaid program. The Senate Finance Committee will also consider the nomination of Eric Hargan to be Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services on June 7. Hargan has previously worked as HHS deputy general counsel, principal associate deputy secretary, and acting deputy secretary during the George W. Bush Administration.

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