On July 10th, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the 21st Century Cures Act by a 344-77 margin. As outlined in previous Transform Healthcare posts, this bill looks to bring drugs to market quicker through advancing medical innovation and holds immense promise in the areas of interoperability, FDA drug review processes and NIH funding, among others. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
According to an article in MedCity News, some highlights of the bill, as it stands now, are:
- NIH Cures Innovation Fund – gives $1.75 billion to the NIH and $110 million to the FDA annually for the next five years to address “major challenges” in biomedical research
- NIH Reforms – requires the agency to develop a strategic research plan and lessen administrative burdens on researchers and grant recipients
- Precision Medicine – requires the FDA to define the term, and expands the organization’s authority to approve treatments for rare and life-threatening diseases
- Interoperability – allows the Department of Health and Human Services to hold organizations accountable for contributing to information blocking
According to the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), the bill is expected to “exponentially” move interoperability forward. “We agree that clear, enforceable standards are necessary to foster nationwide interoperability,” said Leslie Krigstein, CHIME’s interim VP of public policy, citing the bill as a “landmark piece of legislation.”
While the bill has received some opposition from both the American Telemedicine Association and the American Hospital Association, it is being praised by members of the House and others in the industry as helping Americans live longer, healthier lives.