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Washington Debrief: CHIME Joins Industry Leaders in Call for Action on Patient ID National Strategy

October 10, 2016
by Leslie Kriegstein, Vice President of Congressional Affairs, CHIME
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Patient Identification

CHIME Joins Industry Leaders in Call for Action on a National Strategy for Patient ID

Key Takeaway: Last week CHIME joined a diverse group of 22 industry stakeholders that urged the House Appropriators to maintain the language that clarifies the ability for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to work with the private sector on a national strategy for patient identification and matching.

Why It Matters: CHIME has long advocated for the importance of a cohesive national strategy to address the absence of a national solution used to link patients for their healthcare data. The joint letter penned by 23 healthcare industry stakeholders represents the last plea from the industry for national leadership on this critical issue to patient safety, improved healthcare outcomes and reduced cost.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been prohibited for nearly two decades from using funds to promulgate a rule or standards around patient identification. Although the proposed FY17 appropriations bill retains the ban on finalizing a rule around patient identification, clarifying HHS’s latitude to work with the private sector on a solution to patient matching would mark a significant step forward. The letter urges House and Senate Appropriators to ensure the report language accompanies future Labor-HHS Appropriations Bills.

Inaccurate patient identification and errors in patient matching can lead to serious medical mistakes and are major barriers to improving the quality and efficiency of care across the continuum. House appropriators highlighted this challenge in report language accompanying the Fiscal 2017 Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill, labelling the “lack of a consistent patient data matching strategy” as one of the “most significant challenges” to safe and secure electronic health information exchange.

Meaningful Use

Congressional Docs Weighs-In on MACRA Again

Key Takeaway: The GOP Doc Caucus, a group of Republican clinicians in the House of Representatives sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) urging caution to avoid finalizing overly complicated final rules for Medicare physician payment that are expected to start on January 1, 2017.

Why It Matters: Congress has continually exerted their oversight authority as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has pursued the new Medicare physician payment systems that were established through the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA.)

The Congressional Doctors Caucus urged CMS and OMB to recognize congressional intent when finalizing the MACRA rules that were sent to OMB for final review and approval in mid-September. The authors cited a recent HealthAffairs study that physician specialties spent on average 785 hours a year and $15.4 billion on measuring quality.

Among the asks from lawmakers was for a 90-day reporting period for the Advancing Care Information (ACI), which replaces the Meaningful Use program for Medicare physicians, for at least the first year of the (Merit-based Incentive Payment System) MIPS program.

By law, the rules that will govern the program in 2017 must be released by CMS no later than November 1, 2016.


HHS Grants

Key Takeaway: HHS has awarded two cybersecurity grants totaling $1.75 million

Why it Matters: Late this past summer, HHS announced two funding opportunities to further cybersecurity information sharing efforts. Last week, HHS announced that the NH-ISAC was awarded both grants.  Each grants can be extended up to five years. HHS announced the winner in a press release.   In the release HHS stated: