September 25, 2023


Make Every Business

House votes to overturn unique patient identifier ban

The Household of Representatives nowadays permitted the bipartisan Foster-Kelly Amendment as a aspect of the six-bill FY2021 minibus offer that contains the Labor-HHS appropriations bill, which also handed nowadays.

The Foster-Kelly Amendment, led by representatives Invoice Foster, D-Unwell., and Mike Kelly, R-Pa., eliminates Portion 510 of the Labor-HHS bill, which prohibits federal cash for the promulgation or adoption of a exceptional affected person identifier.

With this modification, the Department of Well being and Human Services could get the job done with the healthcare community to develop a nationwide affected person-matching system.

The Senate will have to however Ok the coverage improve, which an array of healthcare stakeholders have been pushing for a lot more than two many years.


The ECRI Institute defines affected person identification as “the system of correctly matching a affected person to appropriately intended interventions and speaking information about the patient’s identification accurately and reliably throughout the continuum of care.”

Identifiers can contain variables these types of as identify, day of delivery, cell phone variety, deal with, image and social safety variety.

In spite of all of individuals means to discover a affected person, mismatches however come about – which pose a important hurdle to a lot more seamless nationwide interoperability and data sharing.

Affected person ID Now, a coalition of healthcare companies, which includes HIMSS, advocates for improved affected person identification techniques by laws and rules. The group cites a variety of instances of wrongful identification involving circumstances of duplicated affected person records, false identification and mislabeled lab outcomes.

Each individual case of misidentification costs at minimum $1,200, and some cases have cost hundreds of hundreds of dollars and taken months to take care of, in accordance to a report from the Mayo Clinic.

“A misidentified affected person in the healthcare facility is the most expensive because of the opportunity for remedy errors and/or an prolonged stay,” the report states.

THE More substantial Craze

Very last year, the same modification designed it by the Household but failed to conclude up generating it all the way into legislation.

This time all-around, on the other hand, matters could be unique because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In May well, Pew Charitable Trusts sent Congress a letter urging it to deal with the troubles all-around affected person identification.

“As Congress looks to increase the nation’s ability to respond to this pandemic, enhancing affected person matching will be critical. Congress ought to get the job done with federal businesses – such as the Business office of the Countrywide Coordinator for Well being Info Technological know-how and the U.S. Postal Assistance – to make sure that they are using all the offered equipment they have so that community health entities can effectively trace contacts and keep track of immunizations,” the letter states.

In spite of possessing extensive-standing support from many healthcare companies, the modification has obtained criticism.

When it was up for a vote past year, the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to the Household imploring members to vote no.

“By placing Portion 510, the modification could supply the foundations for a nationwide professional medical I.D. program and permit inadequate exceptional health identifier rules. This program would not only threaten individuals’ privacy rights but also raise substantial worries relating to the defense of delicate professional medical information,” the letter states.

ON THE History

HIMSS, the mother or father enterprise of Health care Finance News, is a longtime proponent of exceptional affected person ID and was amongst the companies cheering modern vote.

“HIMSS applauds the Household of Representatives for taking decisive action to eradicate the out-of-date and unsafe appropriations ban on a exceptional affected person identifier and permit HHS to actively interact in acquiring a nationwide affected person matching system,” explained Hal Wolf, HIMSS president and CEO, in a statement. “We motivate the Senate to contain identical language in their appropriations bill, so the healthcare community can consider action to progress affected person protection by interoperable electronic health information trade.”

“Accurately matching clients to their health information is critical to providing safe, economical and substantial-good quality care throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and past,” added Blair Childs, senior VP of community affairs at Premier healthcare alliance. “Now, the Household took an vital step to eradicating a important impediment to affected person matching and identification, which is putting clients at threat, growing healthcare costs, perpetuating inefficiencies in care shipping and coordination, and undermining attempts to accomplish nationwide interoperability.”

Twitter: @HackettMallory
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