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Richmond Partner Steve Gravely Appointed to New Government Workgroup

December 5, 2007

RICHMOND, Va. The law firm of Troutman Sanders LLP is pleased to announce that partner Steve Gravely has been appointed co-chair of the Data Use and Reciprocal Support Agreement (DURSA) Workgroup, a new e-health group established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

According to the federal government, one of the top issues the health care industry faces today is the need to advance the widespread use of Health Information Technology, specifically including the sharing of medical data electronically among health care providers and across Health Information Exchanges (HIE), organizations designed to facilitate access to and retrieval of clinical data from multiple providers around the country.

According to many health care professionals, the industry is behind in its ability to efficiently share this information due to cost, privacy issues and physician behavior.  As a result, patients are inconvenienced by doctors’ inability to share medical records, having duplicative tests conducted, prescription refill and appointment scheduling issues, and an overall breakdown in the quality of care that they receive. 

The Office of the National Coordinator has funded several initiatives to evaluate different ways of encouraging Health Information Technology adoption across the country.  This has included the development of the Health Information Technology Standards Board, the Health Information Security and Privacy Committee, and the National Health Information Network (NHIN) Phases I and II.

The Office of the National Coordinator awarded federal contracts to nine HIEs with an objective of having electronic information exchange trials conducted in about a year.  These HIEs form the National Health Information Network Cooperative.

As a standing workgroup of the National Health Information Network Cooperative, DURSA, co-chaired by Gravely, is tasked with developing and executing a model agreement that addresses the complex legal issues that surround sharing confidential medical information.  It is hoped that this agreement will serve as a national model for HIE networks. 

Gravely was named co-chair of DURSA as a result of his extensive experience in legal issues around the development of HIEs.  He also represents MedVirginia, a functional HIE that was awarded one of the nine National Health Information Network Phase II contracts. 

At Troutman Sanders, Gravely is head of the firm’s Healthcare practice group and focuses his practice exclusively on health law and emergency preparedness and recovery law. He has practical experience as a hospital administrator and firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician.   

About Troutman Sanders:
Troutman Sanders LLP, founded in 1897, is an international law firm with over 600 attorneys serving clients from offices in Atlanta, Hong Kong, London, New York, Newark, Norfolk, Raleigh, Richmond, Shanghai, Tysons Corner, Virginia Beach and Washington, D.C.  The full-service firm provides advice and counsel in over 30 legal practice areas and is committed to delivering professional service throughout all its locations.

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