AHIP urges caution on rule to ease data access, interoperability

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A proposed rule under the 21st Century Cures Act would make it easier for patients to get their electronic health records and for providers to access data they need to give optimal care.

While it is early in the comment period, America’s Health Insurance Plans, which represents insurers, already is submitting early comments to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, warning against moving too fast to implement the proposed rules.

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East side view of the United States Capitol building.

Healthcare payers are not included in the health information technology provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act, AHIP acknowledges in its early comments, yet payers play a critical role in the interoperability of health information.

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“At the same time, it is essential that we also protect the privacy and security of patient health information,” the association notes. “As we develop comments on the proposed rules, we are focused on ensuring the rules maintain and enhance patient protections, minimize administrative burdens, and establish clear data standards and operational protocols to put meaningful information into the hands of patients, doctors and insurance providers.”

AHIP also is warning policymakers that the implementation timetable in the proposed rules is not realistic. The proposed effective dates—between Jan. 1, 2020 and July 1, 2020—would pose significant compliance burdens on payers, providers and other stakeholders.

“Additional time will be needed to ensure that entities can comply with standards that are still being developed,” the trade group asserts. “The timeline should also take into account that once the standards are finalized, insurers will have to build and test the new standardized technology and ensure that third parties can securely connect to payer systems.” Implementation of a trusted data exchange network and common agreement rules also must be finalized, according to AHIP.

The rule is available here.

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