As we are seeing as a result of the worldwide pandemic, accurate and timely health and patient data to ensure patient safety is more important than ever. Yet even though the ECRI Institute names patient misidentification one of the top ten threats to patient safety, a two decade-old appropriations rider has stifled innovation and industry progress in advancing a nationwide patient identification strategy.
COVID-19 is highlighting the urgent need to lift this archaic ban. Accurate identification of patients is one of the most difficult operational issues during a public health emergency. Ensuring the correct patient medical history is accurately matched to the patient is vital for COVID-19 diagnoses, future patient care, claims billing, patients’ long-term access to their complete health record, and tracking the long-term health effects of COVID-19. Furthermore, the nationwide response in coming months, including effective implementation of any large-scale immunization programs, hinges on accurate patient information.
Last year, there was broad support for removing the ban, and the US House of Representatives voted to remove the ban from its Labor-HHS appropriations bill, but unfortunately the ban is included once again in this year’s House bill. Our champions on the Hill, Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL) and Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) are introducing an amendment on the floor of the House to remove this ban.
AHIMA needs your help to reach out to your Members of Congress and urge them to vote for the Foster-Kelly amendment and remove section 510 from the FY2021 Labor-HHS appropriations bill. Your Representatives won’t take action without hearing from their constituents, and we cannot ensure the progress achieved so far on this issue will continue without our members’ engagement.
We anticipate that the vote on the amendment will happen tomorrow so we need your help today!