As you may recall, each March WSHIMA sends representatives from our State to Washington DC for Hill Day. This year our State was proudly represented by Paula Dascher, Tracy Stanley, Melody Draper Hnatovic and Sheila Green-Shook. One of our talking points (once again) was a request to omit the 1999 language in the fiscal year 2020 appropriations legislation to empower HHS to work with industry to advance a nationwide patient matching strategy.
On June 19th we received an exciting message from AHIMA
Today, the US House of Representatives passed HR 2740, the FY2020 Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.
Included in passage of the bill was an amendment offered by Representative Bill Foster (IL) and Representative Mike Kelly (PA) that strikes language in the Labor-HHS Appropriations bill that prohibits the US Department of Health and Human Services from spending any federal dollars to promulgate or adopt a national patient identifier. The amendment passed the House 246 to 178.
We want to express our sincere thanks to all of you that helped make this happen. For nearly two decades, innovation and industry progress has been stifled due to a narrow interpretation of this prohibition. More than that, without the ability of clinicians to correctly connect a patient with their medical record, lives have been lost and medical errors have needlessly occurred. The time has come to repeal this archaic ban and give the US Department of Health and Human Services the flexibility to evaluate a full range of patient matching solutions and enable it to work with the private sector to identify solutions that are cost-effective, scalable, and secure.
The US Senate is currently working on its own version of the FY2020 Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. Please stay tuned for future updates as we seek to ensure that the Foster Kelly Amendment is included in a final spending package approved by Congress.
Thank you again for your support and for all that you do for the HIM profession.
AHIMA Policy and Government Relations Team
What makes this exciting?? A few things! First; we all talked to our representatives as well as Senators about this issue in March; last week we received an urgent message that the House was going to vote on this bill the next day – I sent out an urgent e-mail to Paula, Tracy, and Melody to ask they send a message to their representative – 3 of the 4 representatives voted for the bill and the bill passed! Next stop the US Senate – let’s hope for another ‘Yea’ so we can begin to explore options to solve patient matching!
Sheila Green-Shook, MHA, RHIA, CHP, FAHIMA
2nd Year Delegate
Chair, Advocacy Committee