The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) along with the Patient ID Now Coalition and over 100 other organizations sent a letter to leaders of the House and Senate Appropriations committees urging them to reject the inclusion of outdated rider language in an appropriations bill that prohibits the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from spending any federal dollars to promulgate or adopt a national unique patient identifier standard.
For over 20 years, this rider language has blocked innovation and progress in the healthcare industry by preventing the development of an accurate national patient identification system. Lack of consistency in patient identification leads to medical errors and financial burdens for patients, clinicians, and institutions. The letter cites a Blackbook report stating that error from inaccurate patient identification costs the average hospital $2.5 million and the US healthcare system over $6.7 billion annually.
The rider language occurs in Section 510 of the Fiscal Year 2023 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) Appropriations bill. Removing the language in Section 510 will allow HHS to evaluate patient identification solutions and collaborate with the private sector to identify a national strategy for patient ID that protects privacy and is cost-effective and secure.
For the past three years, the House has removed the ban from the Labor-HHS appropriations bill in a bipartisan manner, and last year the draft bill from the US Senate Appropriations Committee also removed Section 510. The letter emphasizes the need to continue this recent progress and ensure that Section 510 is left out of the bill.
CHIME and the Patient ID Now Coalition will hold a briefing on the patient identification issue next Wednesday, May 11 at 1:00 pm ET as a part of “Patient ID Week.”
Register for the briefing here.