Health IT Roundup—Opioid bill includes health IT tidbits; StartupHealth raises $31M

U.S. Capitol at dusk
Congress' opioids bill has some health IT nuggets but no changes to substance abuse data sharing. (Pixabay/skeeze)

Opioid package leaves out changes to substance abuse data sharing

Congress released its massive opioid package last night, which lacked a popular provision to alter substance abuse policy regulations to allow providers to more easily share patient data.

Largely supported by the medical community, including the AMA, the provision would have updated 42 CFR Part 2, which places restrictions on sharing substance abuse information. There were, however, several health IT nuggets including expanding Medicare coverage for telehealth substance abuse treatment and an incentive program for behavioral health providers to adopt EHRs. (Bill—PDF)

StartUp Health raises $31M 

StartUp Health, an organization dedicated to investing in digital health startups, raised $31 million from a group of investors this week, including Novartis, Chiesi Group and GuideWell. 

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StartUp Health, which has a portfolio of 250 digital health companies, focuses its investment on "health moonshots." The company will use the money to create Transformer Fund II, which has already made investments in several new companies. (Release)

HHS leads delegation to Alaska to discuss telehealth

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded $6.2 million to two tribal organizations in Fairbanks, Alaska, to invest in opioid and mental health services. 

Deputy Secretary Eric D. Hargan is also leading a delegation to Fairbanks to discuss the use of telehealth and medicine vending machines, according to the HHS Twitter account. (Release)

ONC names Boston, Maryland hospitals as LEAP Award winners

The HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) awarded nearly $2 million in grant funding to two hospitals in Boston and Maryland as part of its Leading Edge Acceleration Projects (LEAP) in Health Information Technology (Health IT) funding opportunity.

Children's Hospital Corporation and MedStar Health Research Institute will use the funding to expand the scope and utility of apps that can manage population health data. 

“We expect these two awardees to demonstrate where healthcare interoperability can go next,” said Don Rucker, national coordinator for health information technology. (Release)

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