Senate

By Dave Muoio 03:57 pm May 11, 2020
Senate Republicans introduced a new bill during the tail end of last week that seeks to increase transparency and ownership of personal health, geolocation, proximity and other related data collected by digital devices or systems during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The so-called COVID-19 Consumer Data Protection Act was introduced by Sen. Roger Wicker R-Miss.; Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.;...
By Jonah Comstock 04:38 pm April 17, 2020
With the COVID-19 pandemic preventing large gatherings of any kind, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation last week was forced to hold its hearing on big data and privacy protections in response to the pandemic as a “paper hearing.” Participants submitted written testimony only. Lawmakers sent those experts questions, and the panel responded with written answers. Despite...
By Nazila Hafezi 03:29 pm June 18, 2019
This week, Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) introduced legislation to strengthen privacy and security protections for consumers’ personal health data, specifically the data involved in DNA testing kits and health tracking apps. WHAT HAPPENED The Protecting Personal Health Data Act would require HHS to create standards to protect the sensitivity of genetic data,...

Senator Elizabeth Warren at a rally in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in September. Photo by Scott Eisen, Getty Images

By Jonah Comstock 03:02 pm October 10, 2018
The FDA’s Pre-Cert program has fallen under new scrutiny as the agency received an open letter today from three senators: Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.). The 12-page letter contains no less than 50 questions for the agency about the program, ranging from how it will derive its statutory authority to how it will pay for the program absent traditional...
By Laura Lovett 03:13 pm October 4, 2018
Yesterday the senate overwhelmingly passed a new opioid bill in a 98-1 vote, with only Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) voting against it and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) not voting. The vote expands telemedicine services to people with opioid abuse disorder, exempting it from certain requirements. It also modifies the provisions regarding electronic prescriptions and post-surgical pain management.  Further...
By Laura Lovett 04:00 pm May 23, 2018
A bipartisan group of senators has introduced a slew of new bills that seek to increase access to telemedicine treatment for patients with substance abuse disorders. The proposed bills, three of which are telehealth-focused, are expected to be wrapped into a larger legislative package by the Senate Finance Committee and then undergo the markup process in the near future.  “While South Dakota is...
By Jonah Comstock 04:18 pm September 27, 2017
Senate Bill 870, the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic Care Act of 2017, or CHRONIC Act for short, has passed in the Senate by a unanimous vote. Among other things, the bill, which was originally introduced in April by Senator Orrin Hatch (R - Utah), includes provisions that would expand Medicare coverage for telemedicine. Along with expanding telemedicine...
By Jeff Lagasse 02:48 pm July 31, 2017
While the Senate’s efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act imploded last week, that hasn’t stopped lawmakers from introducing bills that would make tweaks to the healthcare system in smaller ways. One such bill, sponsored by Reps. Doris Matsui, (D-California), and Bill Johnson, (R-Ohio), would expand the use of telemedicine to reduce costs.   The bill, the Evidence-Based Telehealth...
By Jonah Comstock 05:02 pm January 25, 2017
On Tuesday, Representative Tom Price, President Trump’s pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services, faced his second confirmation hearing, this time before the Senate Finance Committee (previously he had gone before the Health committee). In between questions about Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, his questionable investments, and his relationship with President Trump, Price fielded some...
By Jonah Comstock 03:45 pm November 30, 2016
The Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill yesterday that would expand a successful New Mexico telehealth program onto the national stage. Project ECHO is a hub-and-spoke model for connecting specialists at academic medical centers with primary care physicians via teleconferencing technologies. Because there is no remote patient monitoring technology or direct patient-doctor communication via...