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Commission on Systemic Interoperability
Ending the Document Game: Connecting and Transforming Your Healthcare Through Information Yechnology


The Secretary of Health and Human Services (Secretary) shall establish the Commission on Systemic Interoperability (Commission) to develop a comprehensive strategy for the adoption and implementation of health care information technology standards that includes a timeline and prioritization for such adoption and implementation. The Commission shall not interfere with any standards development or adoption processes underway in the private or public sector and shall not replicate activities related to such standards or the national health information infrastructure underway within the Department of Health and Human Services. The Commission shall not be responsible for approval of specific projects or for devising and overseeing regulations for specific government agencies.


Public Law 108-173 (the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003), section 1012. This Commission is governed by the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), Public Law 92-463, as amended (5 U.S.C. Appendix 2), which sets forth standards for the formation of advisory committees.


The Commission shall develop a comprehensive strategy for the adoption and implementation of health care information technology standards that includes a timeline and prioritization for such adoption and implementation. In developing that strategy, the Commission shall consider:

(1) The costs and benefits of the standards, both financial impact and quality improvement;

(2) The current demand on industry resources to implement the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 and other electronic standards, including HIPAA standards; and

(3) The most cost-effective and efficient means for industry to implement the standards.

The Commission may hold hearings, conferences or workshops, establish subcommittees, take testimony, and receive evidence as the Commission considers appropriate. Any member or agent of the Commission may, if authorized by the Commission, take any action that the Commission is authorized to take by this section 1012 of Public Law 108-173. The Commission may secure directly from any department or agency of the United States information necessary to enable it to carry out its functions. Upon request of the Chairperson of the Commission, the head of a department or agency shall furnish requested information to the Commission.

The Commission may accept, use, and dispose of gifts, bequests, or devises of services or property, both real and personal, for the purpose of aiding or facilitating the work of the Commission. Gifts, bequests, or devises of money and proceeds from sales of other property received as gifts, bequests, or devises shall be deposited in the Treasury and shall be available for disbursement upon order of the Commission. For purposes of Federal income, estate, and gift taxes, property accepted under section 1012 of Public Law of 108-173 shall be considered as a gift, bequest, or devise to the United States.

The Commission may use the United States mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as other departments and agencies of the United States.

The Commission may enter into contracts or make other arrangements, as may be necessary for the conduct of the work of the Commission without regard to section 3709 of the Revised Statutes (41 U.S.C.5).


The Commission shall be composed of 11 members appointed as follows:

(1) The President shall appoint three members, one of whom the President shall designate as Chairperson.

(2) The Majority Leader of the Senate shall appoint two members.

(3) The Minority Leader of the Senate shall appoint two members.

(4) The Speaker of the House of Representatives shall appoint two members.

(5) The Minority Leader of the House of Representatives shall appoint two members.

The membership of the Commission shall include individuals with national recognition for their expertise in health finance and economics, health plans and integrated delivery systems, reimbursement of health facilities, practicing physicians, practicing pharmacists, and other providers of health services, health care technology and information systems, and other related fields, who provide a mix of different professionals, broad geographic representation, and a balance between urban and rural representatives. Each member shall be appointed for the life of the Commission.

A majority of the members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum but a lesser number may hold hearings.

The Commission shall have a Director who shall be appointed by the Chairperson. With the approval of the Commission, the Director may appoint and fix the pay of such additional personnel, as the Director considers appropriate. With the approval of the Commission, the Director may procure temporary and intermittent services under section 3109(b) of Title 5 U.S.C. Upon request of the Chairperson, the head of any Federal department or agency may detail, on a reimbursable basis, any of the personnel of that department or agency to the Commission to assist it in carrying out its duties.

Upon the request of the Commission, the Administrator of General Services shall provide to the Commission, on a reimbursable basis, the administrative support services necessary for the Commission to carry out its responsibilities.

Management and support services shall be provided by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.


The Commission shall meet as appropriate as determined by the Chairperson in consultation with the Director. Meetings shall be held at the call of the Chairperson, with the advance approval of a Government official, who shall also approve the agenda. A Government official shall be present at all meetings.

Meetings shall be open to the public except as determined otherwise by the Secretary; notice of all meetings shall be given to the public.

Meetings shall be conducted, and records of the proceedings kept, as required by the applicable laws and Departmental policies.


Members shall be paid at a rate of $500 for each day that they are engaged in the performance of their duties as members of the Commission. Members shall receive per diem and travel expenses as authorized by section 5703, Title 5 U.S.C. for persons employed intermittently in the Government service. Members who are officers or employees of the United States Government shall not receive compensation for service on the Commission.

Estimated Annual Cost

The estimated annual cost for operating the Commission, including compensation and travel expenses for members but excluding staff support, is $1,768,975. The estimated annual person-years of staff support is 8.0, at an estimated annual cost of $852,400.


Not later than October 31, 2005, the Commission shall submit to the Secretary and to Congress a report describing the comprehensive health care information technology strategy.

In the event a portion of a meeting is closed to the public, an annual report shall be prepared which shall contain, at a minimum, a list of the members and their business addresses, the CommissionŐs functions, dates and places of meetings, and a summary of the CommissionŐs activities and recommendations made during the year. A copy of the report shall be provided to the Department Committee Management Officer.

Termination Date

The Charter for the Commission on Systemic Interoperability will expire 30 days after submitting its report to the Secretary and Congress.


October 6th, 2004      /s/ Tommy Thompson
______________      __________________

Date                              Secretary

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