251 patient organizations join in support of 21st Century Cures

More than 250 patient organizations have joined together to support the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 6) in a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “The bill is based on the hard work and thoughtful recommendations of the entire health community,” the organizations wrote, “and we thank you for your tireless work to incorporate our feedback into the legislation.”

The organizations, which include the American Kidney Fund, the Epilepsy Foundation, Mental Health America, the U.S. Pain Foundation, and other groups representing a diverse range of patients and caregivers, applauded the bipartisan bill for its patient focus, writing, “Just as Democrats and Republicans have come together to craft a bipartisan bill that cleared the Energy and Commerce Committee with a unanimous vote, so, too, do we affirm our support of this game-changing legislation.”

21st Century Cures

The proposed legislation would “accelerate the discovery, development, and the delivery of 21st century cures” by providing funding to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to strengthen the agency and expand its research. The legislation would also relax privacy regulations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) (P.L. 104-191) to allow research data to be more easily shared. Price transparency would also be furthered by the publishing of Medicare pricing data for outpatient hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers.

Previously, the American Hospital Association (AHA) expressed its support of the relaxation of HIPAA privacy requirements, describing it as a step toward the furthering of information sharing and the clinical success of value-focused entities like the accountable care organizations created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148), as current privacy rules function as a barrier to clinical integration (see American hospitals are thrilled and sick with ‘21st Century Cures’ bill, Health Law Daily, May 13, 2015). The AHA also applauded the legislation’s efforts toward price transparency but stated that publishing Medicare pricing data may provide a misleading picture of pricing under Medicare.