HIMSS reaches out, AHIC members named

I was going to wait a few days before blogging again to let the previous post stay at the top of the screen for a while, but I figured I might as well get this out since it pertains to the same subject, namely Hurricane Katrina relief.

Last Friday, HIMSS sent a letter to its membership to help members and the general health IT industry displaced or otherwise impacted by the hurricane. The organization is soliciting ideas, donations and even requests for help through a special e-mail address, hurricanerelief@himss.org.

The HIMSS letter specifically mentions that one company, HealthMeans, wants to donate smart cards and related services to healthcare providers treating Katrina survivors, wherever they might be. Anyone with a need for such aid is asked to call 866-488-6633.

The offer seems to be in the same spirit of my dialog with Jordan Glogau of Preferred Health Resources last week.

I’ll continue to follow the story of how health IT companies are helping and do my best to make sure any information I find goes to the right places. The health and lives of many Americans are at stake.

Meanwhile, HHS on Tuesday announced the charter membership of the American Health Information Community. As previously disclosed, HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt will chair the panel, and the remaining 16 commissioners are split equally between government and the private sector.

The list includes some pretty big names, such as new Intel chairman Craig Barrett—though he is serving on AHIC as chairman of the Computer Systems Policy Project.

Other commissioners include Federation of American Hospitals chief Chip Kahn, CMS administrator Mark McClellan, M.D., CDC director Julie Gerberding, M.D., and Military Health System boss William Winkenwerder Jr., M.D.

AHIC will hold its first meeting on Oct. 7 in Washington.

There was no word of it in Tuesday’s announcement, but Leavitt previously indicated that the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology will provide “management and support” to the commission. Supposedly that means David Brailer, M.D., will preside at meetings when Leavitt is unable to attend.