AHA Urges Congress to Take Steps to Reduce Regulatory Burden on Hospitals | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

AHA Urges Congress to Take Steps to Reduce Regulatory Burden on Hospitals

August 31, 2017
by Heather Landi
| Reprints

In a letter to Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, who serves as chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means’ Subcommittee on Health, the American Hospital Association (AHA) listed numerous areas in which lawmakers could take action to ease legislative and regulatory burdens on hospitals and health systems.

The AHA wrote that the “regulatory burden faced by hospitals is substantial and unsustainable,” and, as one example, cited that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and other agencies of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released 49 rules pertaining to hospitals and health systems, comprising almost 24,00 page of text.

“Hospitals recently have been granted some important regulatory relief, such as the implementation of a 12-month moratorium on the outdated long-term care hospital 25 percent Rule, as well as a 90-day reporting period and flexibility in the use of technology for the meaningful use program for fiscal year 2018. Yet, more work remains to be done,” the association wrote.

In the letter, AHA laid out actions that Congress could take to immediately reduce the regulatory burden on hospitals and health systems. The actions proposed range from cancelling Stage 3 of the meaningful use program, to postponing to re-evaluating post-acute care quality measurement requirements.

AHA’s health IT-related requests included the following:

  • Expand telehealth coverage under Medicare and Medicare Advantage
  • Remove the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act’s (HIPAA) current barriers to sharing patient information for clinically integrated care. AHA wants Congress to require HIPAA’s medical privacy regulation to permit a patient’s medical information to be used and disclosed to all participating providers in an integrated care setting without requiring individual patients to have a direct relationship with all of the organizations and providers that technically “use” and have access to the data.
  • Enact the reforms in the Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act to fully align requirements for sharing patients’ substance use disorder treatment records with HIPAA regulations that allow the use of and disclosure of patient information for treatment. This would allow treating providers to access patients’ substance use disorder treatment records.
  • Require CMS to suspend the Hospital Star Ratings
  • Direct CMS to cancel Stage 3 of the Meaningful Use program by removing the 2018 start date from the regulation. AHA also wants the Administration to institute a 90-day reporting period in every future year of the program, eliminate the all-or-nothing approach, and gather input from stakeholders on ways to further reduce the burden of MU program.
  • Suspend electronic clinical quality measure (eCQM) reporting requirements which requires hospitals to invest resources to annually update their technology and train their staff to collect and report eCQM data that does not accurately measure the quality of care for the measure topic.
  • Roll back CMS’ “overreach” on information blocking. AHA says that CMS is asking hospitals to attest to three separate statements regarding information blocking and that two of those attestations go beyond both statutory intent and the current capability of the technology hospitals have available to them.
  • Re-focus the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) on certification of electronic health records (EHRs). he AHA urges Congress to require that the work of ONC focus narrowly on standards and certification, including development of robust testing of products to show they are interoperable.

The AHA also requests that Congress ensure that any new bundled payment programs are voluntary. “Hospitals should not be forced to bear the expense of participation in these complicated programs if they do not believe they will benefit patients,” the association wrote.

 

 

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More

Topics

News

Study will Leverage Connecticut HIE to Help Prevent Suicides

A new study will aim to leverage CTHealthLink, a physician-led health information exchange (HIE) in Connecticut, to help identify the factors leading to suicide and to ultimately help prevent those deaths.

Duke Health First to Achieve HIMSS Stage 7 Rating in Analytics

North Carolina-based Duke Health has become the first U.S. healthcare institution to be awarded the highest honor for analytic capabilities by HIMSS Analytics.

NIH Releases First Dataset from Adolescent Brain Development Study

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced the release of the first dataset from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, which will enable scientists to conduct research on the many factors that influence brain, cognitive, social, and emotional development.

Boston Children's Accelerates Data-Driven Approach to Clinical Research

In an effort to bring a more data-driven approach to clinical research, Boston Children’s Hospital has joined the TriNetX global health research network.

Paper Records, Films Most Common Type of Healthcare Data Breach, Study Finds

Despite the high level of hospital adoption of electronic health records and federal incentives to do so, paper and films were the most frequent location of breached data in hospitals, according to a recent study.

AHA Appoints Senior Advisor for Cybersecurity and Risk

The American Hospital Association (AHA) has announced that John Riggi has joined the association as senior advisor for cybersecurity and risk.