ONC’s new health IT committee will begin meeting in January with Schumer's appointments still pending

Chuck Schumer
The ONC's Health IT Advisory Committee is scheduled to begin meeting in January, but Sen. Chuck Schumer has yet to name his appointments. (NASA/Bill Ingalls, via Wikimedia Commons)

After some delay, a new health IT advisory committee created under the 21st Century Cures Act is scheduled to kick off public meetings in January.

The Health Information Technology Advisory Committee replaces two separate health IT committees previously overseen by Office off the National Coordinator for Health IT. The new 25-member committee, made up of appointments selected by the Government Accountability Office, HHS and leadership in the House and Senate, is tasked with making policy recommendations to ONC with a particular focus on interoperability and privacy.

The group’s first meeting will take place on January 18, according to a notice (PDF) on the federal register. Eight additional meetings are scheduled for the remainder of the year. Within 30 days of its first meeting, the committee is required to develop a schedule for policy recommendations. 

Department of Health and Human Services Acting Secretary Eric Hargan appointed three members to the committee in November, including Leslie Lenert, M.D., chief research information officer at the Medical University of South Carolina. In August, the GAO appointed 15 members to the policy group, featuring leaders from several large health systems, the insurance industry, as well as a director at Epic.

Earlier this year, House Majority Leader Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., named the controversial biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong.

RELATED: Ryan adds controversial biotech billionaire to Health IT Advisory Committee

Some members have been getting antsy about when the committee would kick off its first meeting, Politico reported in November. Meanwhile, Senator Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has yet to name anyone to the committee.

Under the law, the Senate minority leader is allowed to appoint two members. The ONC's website lists Schumer’s nominations as pending. A spokesperson for Schumer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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