AHA urges Congress to reduce data sharing barriers including addiction treatment records

AHA urges Congress to reduce data sharing barriers including addiction treatment records

The American Hospital Association (AHA) wrote a letter to Congress urging them to reduce regulatory burdens on hospitals, patients, and health systems, including data sharing barriers for people with addiction treatment records, highlighting the necessary actions to do so.

According to the AHA, Congress should allow health care providers access to patients’ substance use disorder treatment records. The current restrictions on providers accessing this kind of information is an integrated patient care obstacle and could endanger the patient’s health.

They stated that “Congress should enact the reforms included in the Overdose Prevention and Patient Safety Act to fully align requirements for sharing patient’s substance use disorder treatment records with HIPAA regulations that allow the use and disclosure of patient information for treatment, payment and healthcare operations.”

The letter went on to say that this would improve patient care by ensuring that providers and organizations who have a direct treatment relationship with a patient have access to his or her complete medical records.

Several actions were highlighted in the letter to the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee in the House of Representatives. The letter said that the Subcommittee’s initiative aims to identify the opportunities to reduce legislative and regulatory burdens to improve the efficiency and quality of Medicare and those who provide it. The people who will benefit the most from this, the AHA said, would be the elderly on Medicare, people with disorders, and people with disabilities.

The AHA cited 2016’s regulations when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services imposed 49 rules pertaining to hospitals and health care systems as an example of substantial and unsustainable burdens.

The letter stated that “the scope of changes required by the new regulations is beginning to outstrip the field’s ability to absorb them. Moreover, this does not include increasing use of sub-regulatory guidance (FAQs, blogs, etc.) to implement new administrative policies.”

According to the AHA, hospitals recently have been granted regulatory relief in the form of a 12-month moratorium on certain regulations as well as a 90-day reporting period and flexibility in the use of technology for the fiscal year of 2018. Yet, they say more work needs to be done to unburden hospitals. They will be providing Congress with a full list of regulatory requirements that they wish would be lifted

Current regulations from the HIPAA restrict patient data sharing for… (continue reading)