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January 28, 2005, 9:00 AM ET, Alert No. 1,065.
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Bush Promotes Electronic Medical Records

1/27. President Bush gave a speech in Cleveland, Ohio, in which he addressed information technology in health care. The White House Press Office also released a memorandum titled "Improving Care and Saving Lives Through Health IT".

The memorandum states that the Bush administration's plans include "fostering regional collaborations and demonstration projects that will test the effectiveness of Health IT and encourage widespread adoption" and "adopting uniform health information standards".

Bush said that "the fundamental question facing the country is, can we have a health care system that is available and affordable without the federal government running it? I mean, it really is a philosophical challenge. There's good well-meaning folks who believe that the best health care system is run where Washington, D.C. makes the decisions. I happen to believe the best health care system is one where the consumers, the patients, make the decisions."

He then reviewed at length many recent or proposed changes other than those related to information technology. Then, he discussed information technology.

"But we're here to talk about another way to save health -- save costs in health care, and that's information technology. Now, look, most industries in America have used information technology to make their businesses more cost-effective, more efficient and more productive, and the truth of the matter is, health care hadn't. I mean, health care has been fantastic in terms of technological change. I mean, you see these machines in these hospitals -- compared to what life was like ten years ago, things have changed dramatically."

He said that "we've got fantastic new pharmaceuticals that help save lives, but we've got docs still writing records by hand".

He cited the example of medical emergencies why traveling. "But you go to Florida, you get in an automobile accident, an electronic medical record means your data to the doc in the emergency room is transmitted just like that -- as opposed to calling somebody, getting them out of bed, could you please go find so-and-so's file, read somebody's file, and transmit the information."

Bush also said the electronic records must be private. "I don't want my medical records floating around ether, so somebody can pick them up. I presume I'm like most Americans -- I think my medical records should be private. I don't want people prying into them, I don't want people looking at them, I don't want people opening them up unless I say it's fine for you to do so."

He also participated in an exchange with health care professionals at the Intercontinental Cleveland Clinic Suite Hotel.

On the subject of information privacy, Dr. Martin Harris, a general internist and the Chief Information Officer for the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, made the point that electronic records can be more secure. He said that "We want to know that the record is secure and that it remains confidential. But information technology actually works perfectly to document that. If you left a medical record on paper in a room, how will you know who saw it. You can't know. When it's in electronic form, when anyone logs on to the system, we know. We know who they are, we know where they are, we know what they were looking at, and we can keep logs of all that information so that we can confirm for our patients that their information is secure."

Also, on April 27, 2004, President Bush gave a speech in Baltimore, Maryland in which he advocated the use of electronic records in the health care industry. He also issued an executive order regarding "the development and nationwide implementation of an interoperable health information technology infrastructure". See, stories titled "President Bush Advocates Conversion to Electronic Medical Records" and "Bush Addresses Privacy of Electronic Medical Records" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 886, April 28, 2004.

FCC Releases Paper on Competition Between DBS & Cable

1/27. The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Media Bureau (MB) and International Bureau (IB) released a paper titled "Competition between Cable Television and Direct Broadcast Satellite -- It's More Complicated than You Think". See also, FCC release [PDF].

It was written by two FCC economists, Andrew Wise and Kiran Duwadi. The authors offer this summary. "Direct Broadcast Satellite (“DBS”) is often considered a substitute for basic cable service, but current cable subscribers may face substantial switching costs to move from cable to DBS services. We use aggregate firm-level price data and other related demographic variables to examine the cost of switching from cable to DBS and vice versa. We find some firm-specific attributes and demographic variables that influence consumer choice and switching costs that appear to affect consumers’ desire to switch from one service to another. We then use observation-specific dummy variables that stratify cable price based on changes in the level of cable prices between two periods to examine whether consumer behavior varies depending on the size of price change. We find that when quality-adjusted prices for basic cable services increase substantially, subscribers will switch from cable to DBS, presumably at the point at which the price change is larger than the cost of switching."

The paper is based on a multivariate regression analysis of DBS penetration in various markets. One independent variable that is included in the models, but is the subject of little discussion, is a dichotomous variable for whether the cable operator also offers high speed internet access. Notably, the estimated coefficient for this variable is not statistically significant. The paper thus suggests that "Internet access service is not an important factor in choosing between cable and DBS".

The authors then relegate to a footnote the following explanation. "We note that almost all consumers who can subscribe to cable Internet access service can do so without subscribing to the cable operator’s video service, although sometimes at a higher cost. Frequently, consumers also have the choice of DSL high-speed Internet access service. Therefore, it is perhaps not surprising that cable provision of high-speed Internet access service is not a significant factor for consumers in deciding which video service to subscribe to."

NCTA Picks Kyle McSlarrow to Replace Sachs

1/25. Kyle McSlarrow was named President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), effective March 1, 2005. He will replace Robert Sachs. McSlarrow has solid Republican credentials, and ties to the Congressional committees that have jurisdiction over issues of concern to the cable industry.

McSlarrow has been Deputy Secretary of Energy and Chief Operating Officer of the Department Energy (DOE) since 2001. He announced his resignation, effective early February, on January 19. See, DOE release.

Kyle McSlarrowAt the DOE, McSlarrow (at right) serves under Secretary Spencer Abraham, who was previously a member of the Senate, and its Commerce and Judiciary Committees, both of which deal with cable and technology related issues. He also served with DOE General Counsel Lee Otis, who was previously Judiciary Committee counsel to former Sen. Abraham. Before that, she was the elder Bush's chief judge picker.

Before working at the DOE, McSlarrow was Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief Counsel to former Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS) and current Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) when each served as Senate Majority Leader. Sen. Lott is now a senior member of the Senate Commerce Committee.

Also, while the DOE handles energy issues, it is important to note that the House Commerce Committee has jurisdiction over not only communications and many e-commerce issues, but also energy. Hence, he has worked with, and testified before, the Committee in recent years.

McSlarrow also ran for Congress, unsuccessfully. Most recently, he ran in Virginia's 8th District in the suburbs of Washington DC against Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA). It was the Republican year of 1994, but McSlarrow still lost 61% to 39%.

See also, NCTA release.

People and Appointments

1/27. Kenneth Ferree, Chief of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Media Bureau, announced that he will resign, "effective in early March 2005". His replacement has not yet been named. See, FCC release [PDF].

1/27. Eric Bash was named interim Legal Advisor on media issues to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, pending selection of a permanent Legal Advisor. He replaces Johanna Shelton, who has been named minority counsel to the House Commerce Committee. Bash is currently Assistant Chief in the FCC's Enforcement Bureau's (EB) Investigations & Hearings Division. Before that, he was Special Counsel to the FCC's Localism Task Force. Since joining the FCC in 1996, he has also worked as an Attorney Advisor in the FCC's Media Bureau's (MB) Policy Division, in the former Mass Media Bureau's Policy & Rules Division, in the former Common Carrier Bureau, and in the former Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. He worked at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) before joining the FCC. See, FCC release.

1/27. June Taylor was named acting Director of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Office of Workplace Diversity (OWD). See, FCC release [PDF].

1/27. Rosemarie Straight will retire as Executive Director of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Judith Bailey, who is currently Deputy Executive Director, will become acting Executive Director. See, FTC release.

1/26. The House Judiciary Committee formally selected Subcommittee Chairmen for the 109th Congress. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) will again chair the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property. Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC) will chair the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT) will chair the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law. Rep. John Hostettler (R-IN) will chair the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) will chair the Subcommittee on the Constitution. See, HJC release. Rep. Smith stated in a release that "From software developers to cyber security experts, it is vital that we encourage the continued growth and protection of intellectual property. This post will continue to give me a unique opportunity to shape national policy in an arena of real importance at home." Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) remains the Chairman of the full Committee, and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) remains the ranking Democrat.

1/27. Brad Huther was named director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's new counterfeiting and piracy initiative. Huther was previously President and Chief Executive Officer of the International Intellectual Property Institute (IIPI), a Washington DC based organization committed to strengthening intellectual property systems around the world. He has also worked at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). See, IIPI biography.

More News

1/25. The Department of Justice, state plaintiffs, and Microsoft filed another periodic pleading with the U.S. District Court (DC) apprising the Court of the status of the governments' antitrust case against Microsoft. This pleading is titled "Joint Status Report on Microsoft's Compliance with the Final Judgments". These cases are U.S. v. Microsoft, D.C. Nos. 98-1232 (CKK) and 98-1233, Judge Colleen Kotelly presiding. The Court will hold a status conference on Tuesday, February 1, 2005 at 10:15 AM.

1/25. Microsoft issued a release regarding future plans to combat the distribution of counterfeit software.

1/27. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published a notice in the Federal Register announcing revised thresholds for interlocking directorates required by the 1990 amendment of Section 8 of the Clayton Act. See, Federal Register, January 27, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 17, at Page 3928.

Washington Tech Calendar
New items are highlighted in red.
Friday, January 28

No votes are scheduled in the House. The motion to adjourn of January 26 provided that the next meeting would be at 2:00 PM on January 28. See also, Republican Whip Notice.

The Senate will not meet. It will next meet at 1:00 PM on Monday, January 31, 2005.

The Supreme Court is in recess until February 22, 2005.

7:30 AM. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge will speak to the Council for Excellence in Government on community preparedness. Open press. Location: Crystal Room, Willard Inter-Continental Hotel, 14th Street and Pennsylvania Ave., NW.

Deadline to submit to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) replies to oppositions to petitions to deny the applications of NextWave Telecom and Cellco Partnership dba Verizon Wireless for FCC approval of their proposed transfer of control of broadband Personal Communications Services (PCS) licenses from NextWave to Cellco. See, FCC notice [4 pages in PDF]. This notice is DA 04-3873 in WT Docket No. 04-434.

Extended deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to the FCC's public notice regarding BellSouth's petition for forbearance from certain Title II and Computer Inquiry requirements. This proceeding is WC Docket No. 04-405. See, notice of extension [PDF].

EXTENDED TO MARCH 14. Deadline to submit reply comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Public Notice [4 pages in PDF] (DA 04-3891) of December 14, 2004 seeking comments on the report of Avatar Environmental, LLC regarding migratory bird collisions with communications towers. See, Public Notice [2 pages in PDF] (DA 04-4021) of December 22, 2004 extending deadlines. This proceeding is WT Docket No. 03-187.

Monday, January 31

12:30 PM. Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General of New York, will give a luncheon address. Location: National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor.

Extended deadline to submit reply comments to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) [38 pages in PDF] regarding use by unlicensed devices of broadcast television spectrum where the spectrum is not in use by broadcasters. See, story titled "FCC Adopts NPRM Regarding Unlicensed Use of Broadcast TV Spectrum" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 898, May 14, 2004, and story titled "FCC Releases NPRM Regarding Unlicensed Use of TV Spectrum" in TLJ Daily E-Mail Alert No. 905, May 26, 2004. This NPRM is FCC 04-113 in ET Docket Nos. 04-186 and No. 02-380. See, notice (setting original deadlines) in the Federal Register, June 18, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 117, at pages 34103-34112; first notice [PDF] of extended deadlines; erratum [PDF]; and December 22, 2004 Public Notice [PDF] (DA 04-4013) further extending the deadline for reply comments to January 31.

Deadline to submit comments to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in response to its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding disseminate information to investors during the securities offering process. The NPRM states that "Significant technological advances over the last three decades have increased both the market's demand for more timely corporate disclosure and the ability of issuers to capture, process, and disseminate this information. Computers, sophisticated financial software, electronic mail, teleconferencing, videoconferencing, webcasting, and other technologies available today have replaced, to a large extent, paper, pencils, typewriters, adding machines, carbon paper, paper mail, travel, and face-to-face meetings relied on previously. Our evaluation of the securities offering process and procedural enhancements seeks to recognize the integral role that technology plays in timely informing the markets and investors about important corporate information and developments."

Deadline to submit applications and nominations to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for membership on the FCC's Consumer Advisory Committee (CAC). See, Public Notice [PDF] (DA 04-3892) and notice in the Federal Register, December 29, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 249, at Pages 78024 - 78025.

Deadline to submit comments to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative's (USTR) Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC) regarding "general U.S. negotiating objectives as well as country-, product-, and service-specific priorities for the multilateral negotiations and work program in the Doha Development
Agenda (DDA) negotiations conducted under the auspices of the World Trade Organization". See, notice in the Federal Register, December 9, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 236, at Pages 71466 - 71468.

Tuesday, February 1

10:00 AM. The Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing on the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) budget and the economic outlook. Location: Room 608, Dirksen Building.

10:15. The U.S. District Court (DC) will hold a status conference in USA v. Microsoft, No. 98-1232 (CKK). See, rescheduling order. Location: Prettyman Courthouse, 333 Constitution Ave., NW.

12:00 NOON - 1:30 PM. The DC Bar Association will host a brown bag lunch titled "Entertainment Law: The Year In Review". The speakers will be Maurita Coley and David Silverman (both of Cole Raywid & Braverman). See, notice. Prices vary from $20 to $30. For more information, call 202 626-3463. Location: D.C. Bar Conference Center, B-1 Level, 1250 H St., NW.

Deadline to submit applications to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Utilities Service (RUS) for Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) grants. See, notice in the Federal Register, December 3, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 232, at Pages 70217 - 70222; and notice in the Federal Register, January 18, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 11, at Pages 2844 - 2849.

Wednesday, February 2

9:30 AM - 12:00 NOON. The Department of State's International Telecommunication Advisory Committee (ITAC) will meet to prepare for the International Telecommunications Union's ITU-T Study Group 2 (Service Definitions, Numbering, Routing, and Global Mobility) meeting. See, the ITU's calendar of meetings. See, notice in the Federal Register, December 30, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 250, at Pages 78515-78516. For more information, including the location, contact Location: undisclosed.

10:00 AM. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs will hold a hearing on the nomination of Michael Chertoff to be Secretary of Homeland Security. See, notice. Location: Room 342, Dirksen Building.

10:30 AM. The House Ways and Means Committee will meet to adopt Committee rules, approve the Committee budget, approve the Committee oversight plan, and make subcommittee assignments. See, notice. Location: Room 1100, Longworth Building.

10:45 AM. The House Education and Workforce Committee will meet to adopt the committee's rules and oversight plan. Location: Room 2175, Rayburn Building.

2:00 - 4:00 PM. The Department of State's International Telecommunication Advisory Committee (ITAC) will meet to prepare for the International Telecommunications Union's (ITU) Telecommunication Standardization Advisory Group (TSAG) meeting. See, the ITU's calendar of meetings. See, notice in the Federal Register, December 20, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 243, at Page 76027. For more information, including the location, contact Julian Minard at Location: undisclosed.

Deadline to register for the Federal Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) February 8 continuing legal education (CLE) seminar titled "Communications Law 101". See, registration form [PDF].

Thursday, February 3

9:30 AM. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a business meeting. Location: Room 226, Dirksen Building.

12:00 NOON - 1:30 PM. The DC Bar Association's Intellectual Property Law Section will host a brown bag lunch titled "What's Hot and What's Not on Capitol Hill?". The topic is the prospects in the 109th Congress for intellectual property bills, such as the the Family Movie Act, Art Act, PIRATE Act, CREATE Act, Inducing Infringement of Copyright Act, Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act, Piracy Deterrence & Education Act, and Stop Counterfeiting in Manufactured Goods Act. The scheduled speakers are Paul Martino (Majority Counsel for Senate Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications), David Strickland (Senior Counsel for Senate Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Competition & Consumer Affairs), Jonathan Meyer (Counsel to Sen. Joe Biden), Robert Brauneis (George Washington University Law School), and Barbara Berschler. See, notice. Prices vary from $10 to $30. For more information, call 202 626-3463. Location: D.C. Bar Conference Center, B-1 Level, 1250 H St., NW.

1:30 - 3:30 PM. The WRC-07 Advisory Committee's Informal Working Group 2: Satellite Services and HAPS will meet. See, FCC notice [PDF]. Location: Leventhal Senter & Lerman, 7th Floor Conference Room, 2000 K St. NW.

TIME? The Judicial Conference of the United States (JC) will hold a public hearing on its proposed amendment to Bankruptcy Rule 5005 regarding electronic filings. The JC has proposed amendments to Civil Rule 5, Appellate Rule 25, and Bankruptcy Rule 5005. Each of these proposed amendments would permit the applicable court, by local rules, to "permit or require papers to be filed, signed, or verified by electronic means" (or similar language). Current rules provide that the applicable court may "permit" filing by electronic means. See, JC notice [PDF] and notice in the Federal Register, Federal Register, December 2, 2004, Vol. 69, No. 231, at Page 70156. Location: undisclosed.

Friday, February 4

9:30 AM - 1:30 PM. The WRC-07 Advisory Committee's Informal Working Group 4: Broadcasting and Amateur Issues will meet. See, FCC notice [PDF]. Location: Shaw Pittman, 2300 N St., NW, Room 1B.

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