Department of Health and Human Services


Tuesday, April 18, 2017, 3-5 PM Eastern Time (virtual meeting)


The National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics was convened via telephone and webinar on Tuesday, April 18, 2017.  It was open to the public.



William Stead, M.D., Chair
Bruce Cohen, Ph.D.
Nicholas Coussoule
Alix Goss
Linda Kloss, M.A.
Richard Landen, M.P.H., M.B.A.
Denise Love  
Vickie Mays, Ph.D., MSPH
Robert Phillips, Jr., M.D., MSPH
Helga Rippen, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., FACPM
Dave Ross, Sc.D


Rashida Dorsey, Ph.D., HHS Exec. Staff Director
Rebecca Hines, MHS, Executive Secretary
Lorraine Doo, M.P.H.
Katherine Jones, M.S.
Debbie Jackson, M.A.
Susan Kanaan
Marietta Squire
Erika Martin
Jim Sorace, M.D.
Geneva Cashaw


Eric Grindstaff
Debra Strickland
John Bowers
Sheryl Turney
Sean Whitney
Christine Gerhardt
Emma Claye
Tiffani Kigenyi
Michael DeCarlo
Gail Kocher
David Haugen
Rachel Foerster
Dan Rode
Terri Deutsch
Kristen Dawson
William Murphy
James Riske
Steven Lazarus
Kelly Turek
Laurie Darst
Madhu Annadata
Lauren Rossen
Christopher Gracon
Emmeline Ochiai
Denise Buenning
Lauri Woodrome
Rachel Rubin


  1. The Committee unanimously passed a motion to approve the 12th Report to Congress.
  2. The Committee unanimously passed a motion to approve a letter to the Secretary that outlined recommendations on measuring health at the community level and opportunities for HHS leadership.
  3. The Committee unanimously passed a motion regarding a letter and report to the Secretary with recommendations on maximizing the value of The motion establishes the following process for final approval of the letter and report: The letter and report, revised to incorporate changes discussed during this meeting, will be circulated to the full Committee by email. Absent any objections from members, it will be considered approved at that point. If there are objections, the letter will be presented for further discussion and action at the June NCVHS meeting. 

Call to Order―Ms. Hines, Dr. Stead

This two-hour spring meeting of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics, was convened via telephone and webinar. The agenda and meeting materials are posted on the NCVHS website. The meeting featured three action items (using electronic voting) and updates on three NCVHS projects. Following a welcome by Ms. Hines and introductions of members, Dr. Stead reviewed the agenda.

ASPE Welcome―Dr. Dorsey

On behalf of the Department, Dr. Dorsey thanked the Committee for its work, and its members for the expertise they provide to the Department.

ACTION ITEM: NCVHS 12th Report to Congress on HIPAA Implementation―Dr. Stead

Dr. Stead reviewed the thinking behind the approach to this report to Congress, and the writing, review, and revision process that brought it to the current stage. He invited comments on the report. After praising the quality of the report and noting the extensive footnotes that provide background information, Ms. Kloss moved that the report be approved. Ms. Goss seconded the motion, lauded the process, and thanked all involved in developing the report. Members then unanimously passed the motion to approve the report.

ACTION ITEM: Letter on Recommendations on Measuring Health at the Community Level: Opportunities for HHS Leadership―Dr. Cohen

Dr. Cohen noted that this letter is the outgrowth of the multi-year NCVHS journey to study community data use, which began in 2011. The letter conveys three “buckets” of recommendations: establishing an HHS intramural workgroup on community data, providing leadership to form a cross-departmental workgroup, and connecting Federal activity to the enormous amount of activity already taking place in non-federal community data efforts. Dr. Cohen moved approval of the letter, and Dr. Phillips seconded the motion. After a brief discussion of the letter and of what agencies and individuals might be cc’ed on the letter, Dr. Dorsey was asked to advise NCVHS leadership about how to handle this aspect after consulting with HHS colleagues. Participants in the September 2016 workshop on measuring community health and well-being will be notified once the letter is sent to the Secretary (possibly attaching the letter). Dr. Phillips reported that a comment has been submitted to the New England Journal of Medicine, citing the NCVHS report on its September 2016 hearing and the Measurement Framework on Community Health and Well-being. NCVHS members then unanimously passed the motion approving the letter to the Secretary.

ACTION ITEM: Letter and Report to the Secretary with Recommendations on Maximizing the Value of―Dr. Mays

Dr. Mays outlined the history for this letter and report – they were developed in response to a request from HHS that the NCVHS Work Group on HHS Data Access and Use assess and offer perspective on its value relative to the HHS mission and how to enhance it. She described the Work Group’s process in carrying out this assignment, and then summarized each of the recommendations and invited comments from NCVHS members. She then discussed the detailed report on from which the letter draws its recommendations. After discussion of the draft letter and a few suggestions for ways to strengthen it (such as by clearly articulating the value of the website and data platform), members unanimously passed a motion (Dr. Ross/Dr. Rippen), approving the following process for final approval of the letter: The letter and report will be revised to incorporate the changes discussed during this meeting; the revised letter and report will be circulated to the full Committee by email, and absent any objections from members they will be considered approved at that point. If there are objections, they will be presented for further discussion and action at the June NCVHS meeting. 

Dr. Phillips offered to take the lead in developing a proposed template for future NCVHS letters to the Secretary. 

Updates on New and Continuing NCVHS Projects

Health Plan Identifier Initiative Hearing―Mr. Coussoule

The Subcommittee on Standards is hosting a hearing on the Health Plan Identifier on May 3. Four panels will represent the various constituencies with an interest and expertise in this matter, and the Subcommittee also expects to receive written comments.

Predictability Roadmap Workshop―Ms. Goss

The Subcommittee on Standards is developing a process for establishing a Predictability Roadmap for the adoption of standards and operating rules for the nation. The Subcommittee will convene one or more workshops with Standards Development Organizations and operating rule authoring entities (ORAEs) for the purpose of validating the current timeline and procedures for updating the adopted standards and operating rules, identifying barriers, and identifying opportunities for mitigating the barriers. The initial workshop(s) will probably be virtual, leading to a face to face meeting. Based on this input, the Subcommittee will identify recommendations that can be elevated for discussion by NCVHS, generating documentation and recommendations to the Secretary. It is likely that the Subcommittee will also host a hearing at some stage of the process. It will finalize its timeline for this project in the next few weeks.  All NCVHS members are encouraged to participate in the hearing.

Next Generation Vital Statistics―Dr. Cohen

The Subcommittee on Population Health will host a two-day hearing on the next generation of vital statistics on September 11-12 in Washington, DC. Day one will be a level-set, describing the current status of vital statistics from a range of perspectives. Day two will focus on what the various stakeholders see as the current challenges and their ideas for solutions, followed by time for the Committee to process the findings and plan next steps. Dr. Cohen commented that it is exciting to “get back to the roots of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics” with this project. All NCVHS members are encouraged to participate in the hearing.

In response to a question, Mr. Landen was told that HIT software developers would be invited to attend the hearing, and state IT/HIT leads will be on a panel. Dr. Cohen asked for other suggestions of individuals or organizations that should be invited.

Follow-up on June 2016 Hearing on Claims-based Databases for Policy Development and Evaluation―Dr. Phillips

Dr. Phillips and Ms. Hines have reviewed the testimony from the 2016 NCVHS hearing on claims-based databases and drafted a hearing summary. An ad hoc group of members will be re-convened to continue reviewing the testimony and summary report for review by the full Committee in June 2017.

Public Comment Opportunity; Adjournment

There being no public comment, Ms. Hines announced that the next NCVHS meeting will be June 21-22 in the Humphrey Building in Washington, DC, and Dr. Stead adjourned the meeting.

I hereby certify that, to the best of my knowledge, the foregoing summary of minutes is accurate and complete.



June 21, 2017