AHIMA Renews Calls for Congress to Repeal National Patient Identifier Ban

On Tuesday September 24, which was designated as Patient ID Day, AHIMA asked its members and other grassroots organizations to contact their members of Congress to strike the ban on discussing a patient identifier solution from the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2020. The Senate is expected to act on this legislation soon, which is why it’s important for AHIMA membership to reach out to their legislators.

AHIMA urges members can do this by visiting AHIMA’s Advocacy Action Center by clicking here. Members are also encouraged to use social media to advocate for the removal of this ban by using the hashtag #patientIDnow.

Background

On June 19, the US House of Representatives passed HR 2740, the FY2020 Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. As the Journal reported, included in that legislation passage of the bill was an amendment that strikes language in the Labor-HHS Appropriations bill that prohibits HHS from spending any federal dollars to promulgate or adopt a national patient identifier.

This was a significant development because even though HIPAA originally required the creation of a unique health identifier in 1998, Congress included language as part of the annual appropriations process that prohibited the US Department of Health and Human Services from using federal funds intended for the creation of a unique patient identifier out of privacy concerns.

Mary Butler is associate editor at Journal of AHIMA.

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