Breakaway Comes to D.C.
In this summer of debt ceiling brinksmanship, CompTIA’s Breakaway Conference comes to Washington, D.C., August 1-4. While there is certainly quite a bit of drama taking place along the six-mile stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue between the Capitol and the White House, Breakaway is looking to have a calm, constructive focus on policy issues that impact your business. The CompTIA Tech Summit on August 4th at Breakaway promises to deliver high-level panelists and thoughtful discussion.
The morning kicks off with an 8:00 a.m. breakfast featuring Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL) who will share with us some of his views on small business IT issues.
From 9:00 a.m. to noon, we will hold two policy tracks focused on Cybersecurity and Healthcare IT. Make sure to get a good seat as Dr. Carolyn Clancy, the director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, will kick off the Healthcare IT Summit with a keynote address. AHRQ is charged with evaluating the effectiveness of health policies and has distributed more than $300 million in grants and contracts in the healthcare IT space. We then will have terrific panels with federal and state government officials and leaders in the private sector on the status of HITECH act implementation and a deeper look at where the electronic medical records transition stands.
On the cybersecurity front we will take a close look at cloud migration for the government and private sector and the myriad of security issues that can raise; and we will get a jumpstart on the hot topic of mobile technology and its associated cybersecurity considerations.
We are thrilled to have the support of our partners, MeriTalk and (ISC)² for the CompTIA Tech Policy Summit and we look forward to seeing you there!
The Big Three Are Called In on Privacy
A joint meeting between the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade and the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology received feedback on privacy efforts from the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC), the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). What was clear from the hearing was the recognition among all the policy-makers present that privacy is a huge issue across political affiliations. All 12 members of congress from each side of the aisle provided an opening statement on the need to preserve consumer confidence with regards to online privacy. Read more.
Funds Released to Community Banks
The Treasury released $123 million to community banks under the Small Business Lending Act. Intended to encourage banks to increase small business lending, there are no actual mandates to do so. However, for small businesses seeking needed loans, contacting banks that have received these funds would be prudent. Read more.
Business Activity Tax Legislation Moves Forward
The legislation sets up a physical presence nexus standard, which means that in order for a state to tax a business activity, that business must have a tangible connection to the state, such as an office or a sales force. Without this legislation, businesses will face increasing tax compliance costs, as states seek additional revenues. Read more.
Need Capital for Your Business?
With little relief in site for small businesses seeking much needed capital, the SBA developed a Web-based tool to assist small businesses in identifying possible sources of business loans, grants and financing. Read more.
INNOVATION AND COMPETITIVENESS
Update on WIA
In February, we shared information on efforts to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act. Recently, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) released a discussion draft of that legislation and was scheduled to hold a hearing to “mark up” the proposed legislation on June 29. That mark-up hearing has now been postponed. We will keep you apprised of new developments and welcome your thoughts and reaction to the discussion draft. Read more.
Health IT Round-Up
Some highlights in health IT:
- The second stage of meaningful use measures for EHRs will likely be delayed for one year, until 2014.
- A recent Health Affairs study reports that few small and mid-sized physician practices are fully utilizing electronic health record systems. The national study found that a quarter of small and mid-sized physician offices are using EHRs for progress notes, but a much smaller amount are using EHR for essential components of the patient-centered medical home.
- President Obama announced last month new efforts to expand the Skills for America’s Future Initiative, an industry-led initiative to dramatically improve industry partnerships with community colleges to prepare 500,000 workers for new jobs. The Initiative complements the Office of the National Coordinator’s “Community College Consortia,” which is a program designed to educate Health IT professionals.
- The Office of the National Coordinator last month announced a new initiative to spur health IT innovations through a series of prizes, challenges and other mechanisms to improve the nation’s healthcare system. The Investing in Innovations (i2) Initiative will leverage prize authority in the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act, which is designed to spur innovation through prize money and nationwide challenges.
Member Advocacy Spotlight
From time to time we give focus to CompTIA members’ activities or views in relation to specific policy matters. In May we shared with you developments surrounding patent reform legislation in Congress. Below is an opinion piece by CompTIA Member Kevin McDonald of Alvaka on the state of patent reform.
The State of Patent Reform
One of the most well-defined responsibilities of Congress is to, “promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” Now, under what could arguably be one of the biggest precedent reversals in U.S. law, Congress has conspired with America’s mega corporations to change patent law to favor the largest corporations, invention houses, and wealthiest individuals. Read more.
COMPTIA EVENTS & ACTIVITIES
Philanthropic Arm Renamed Creating IT Futures Foundation
We renamed our philanthropic arm, the CompTIA Educational Foundation, to the Creating IT Futures Foundation. The name change comes as the Foundation is refining its models for training, placing and supporting at-risk individuals in IT jobs that can lead to viable careers. The new name will help to distinguish the Foundation from other continuing education and educational programs within CompTIA, while also positioning the Foundation to reach a wider donor base. If you wish to support the Foundation and help more at-risk individuals to find success in the IT industry, you can make contributions online at www.creatingITfutures.org.
Economic Soft Patch Continues
Is the economy in a soft patch or a more severe slump? That has been the hot topic among economic prognosticators. Even Ben Bernanke professed puzzlement over the recent increase in unemployment, reversing months of positive momentum. The CompTIA IT Industry Business Confidence Index suggests more of an economic soft patch, although after two down quarters, a slump is not too far off. The CompTIA Index fell 2.0 points to 52.9. Looking ahead, IT industry executives expect the recent bout of uncertainty to abate and sales growth to resume. Read more.
Members Give Back to Schools, Hospitals & More
Our member communities chose three more IT-related charities to donate $5,000 each. The IT Services & Support Community chose Close the Gap, an international not-for-profit organization that helps bridge the digital divide by offering used IT-equipment to schools and hospitals. The Managed Print Services Community chose Techcorps, which develops and deploys technology programs and tech-savvy volunteers to assist K-12 schools. The Small Business Owners Community chose the Philadelphia chapter of the Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA), which offers technology professionals, executives, entrepreneurs and students a pathway from the classroom to the boardroom through education, mentoring and business networking.
To read previous issues of Policy Watch, click here..
REGULATIONS IN THE NEWS
|CONTRACTING & GRANT OPPORTUNITIES
Defense Logistics Agency needs on-site hardware, software, and technical support.
The Securities and Exchange Commission needs services to develop and improve internal processes, databases, services and applications as they relate to interactive data.
The NIST needs professional, administrative and management support services to establish a health IT testing infrastructure.
Key CompTIA Public Policy Contacts
Vice President, Public Advocacy
Director, Public Advocacy
Senior Director, Public Advocacy
PAC and Grassroots Advocacy
Matthew L. Evans
Manager, Public Advocacy