Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bills Introduced in Congress

Representative Jerry Moran (R-KS) on September 13th introduced the “Surveillance, Tracking, Observation, and Prevention of Obesity Act of 2012” (H.R.6402) that would authorize grants for ten states. The funding would be used to set up demonstration projects for the expansion of State registries on childhood immunizations which would include Body Mass Index (BMI) data to be submitted to the State by healthcare providers.

The robust monitoring of local obesity prevalence rates in children is an essential first step in dealing with epidemic prevention and control. There is an urgent need for accurate population-based data systems to understand obesity, prevalence, trends, and disparities among youth. Since there is a lack of data, planners and researchers have a difficult time evaluating the effectiveness of intervention efforts.

Existing immunization information systems with data on BMI can provide an assessment for childhood obesity prevalence more accurately than from existing survey data and would be able to measure the effectiveness of obesity intervention, wellness policies, and programs already underway. The data collected would also be required to be interoperable between each state and would be analyzed at the local level.

Senator John Kerry (D-MA) also on September 13th introduced the “Medicaid Information Technology to Enhance Community Health Act of 2012” (S 3539) or referred to as the MITECH Act to encourage the adoption and use of certified electronic health record technology by safety net providers and clinics.

The bill states that by January 1, 2015, the States and other relevant stakeholders will need to publish regulations that would establish a procedure to help qualified safety net clinics demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology.

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