December 8, 2016
On Wednesday, Dec. 7, the Senate approved H.R. 34, the "21st Century Cures Act," by a vote of 94 to 5. The ACEP-supported legislation included key provisions regarding interoperability, mental health and opioid funding.
Specifically, the bill provides strong interoperability and data sharing provisions for electronic health record (EHR) technologies. These provisions, which ACEP advocated for since the bill's inception, are critical to ensure clinician-led clinical data registries, such as ACEP's Clinical Emergency Data Registry (CEDR), will be able to promote quality improvements and medical research.
Regarding mental health, H.R. 34 included the compromise mental health language from the "Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2016" that ACEP has been actively promoting over the past several years and that was one of the key issues during ACEP's Leadership and Advocacy Conference earlier this year.;
Of particular interest to ACEP, the mental health provisions include:
Finally, H.R. 34 includes $1 billion (over two years) to supplement opioid abuse prevention and treatment activities and nearly $5 billion (over 10 years) in additional funding for the NIH.
The House had previously approved the same bill on Nov. 30 by a vote of 392 to 26.