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Patient ID Now Coalition Disappointed Senate Labor-HHS Appropriations Bill Does Not Address the Vital Issue of Patient Misidentification

CHICAGO – November 10, 2020 – Patient ID Now, a coalition of leading healthcare organizations, including the American College of Surgeons, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, Inc. (HIMSS), Intermountain Healthcare and Premier Healthcare Alliance, is disappointed that today the U.S. Senate did not remove the longstanding ban in its Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) appropriations bill that stifles innovation around patient identification.

The recently launched coalition is bringing attention to the critical challenges of patient misidentification that afflict the country’s health system. Failure to accurately identify patients to their data raises patient safety and quality of care concerns, and those concerns have been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. An archaic section of the federal budget has prevented the US Department of Health and Human Services from working with the private sector to develop a nationwide patient identification strategy. Despite the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously removing the ban in its Labor-HHS bill passed in July, today the U.S. Senate’s just-released appropriations bill chose not to address patient identification. This will continue to hamper efforts around patient safety and the public health response.

Properly matching patients and their data not only improves care but is vital in the response to the current pandemic. 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 critical for future patient care, patients’ long-term access to their complete health record, and for tracking the long-term effects of COVID-19. Any widespread COVID-19 vaccination efforts will hinge on accurate patient identification.

Patient ID Now hopes that the Senate will work with the House of Representatives on this issue and remove Section 510 from the Labor-HHS bill in Congress’ final budget.

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About Patient ID Now
Patient ID Now is a coalition of healthcare organizations representing a wide range of healthcare stakeholders committed to advancing through legislation and regulations a nationwide strategy to address patient identification. Its members are the American College of Surgeons, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, Inc. (HIMSS), Intermountain Healthcare and Premier Healthcare Alliance.

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