Patient ID Now, a coalition of more than 40 leading healthcare organizations of which HIMSS is a founding member, applauds the U.S. House of Representatives for removing Section 510 in its Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill for the third year in a row. This provision stifles innovation around patient identification due to the narrow interpretation of the language by the federal government.
The Patient ID Now coalition now calls on the U.S. Senate to join the bipartisan work of the House of Representatives to finally repeal the ban this year.
“HIMSS applauds the House Appropriations Committee for taking critical steps to eliminate the outdated and harmful ban on a unique patient identifier,” said HIMSS President & CEO Hal Wolf. “We must now focus on advancing a nationwide patient matching and identification strategy that supports patient safety through interoperable digital health information exchange and strengthens patient privacy rights. We urge the Senate to follow the House of Representatives and remove the ban.”
Patient ID Now has brought attention to the critical challenges of patient misidentification that afflict the country’s health system. Though these challenges have persisted for decades, the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the harmful effects of the health system’s inability to accurately match patients to their complete health records increasing patient safety and quality of care concerns. Properly matching patients and their data not only improves care but saves valuable resources during a public health emergency.
An archaic section of the federal budget has prevented the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from working with the private sector to develop a nationwide patient identification strategy, but the House of Representatives, with leadership from Reps. Bill Foster (D-IL) and Mike Kelly (R-PA), once again took an important step forward in repealing the ban. Without public-private partnerships, it will be impossible for most health systems to reach a 100 percent match rate. The coalition has developed a Framework for a National Strategy on Patient Identity to help guide these partnerships once the funding ban is lifted.
Urge Congress to allow for a national strategy around patient identification to improve patient safety and outcomes.