Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) has introduced legislation that if enacted would grant limited legal protection to Medicare and Medicaid providers in the event of an error that occurs while using electronic health records.

"The Safeguarding Access for Every Medicare Patient Act," H.R. 3239, would limit electronic discovery in a legal action to information related to the EHR-related adverse event and information from the period in which the event occurred. This will limit attorneys from using EHRs to go on "fishing expeditions" and looking for other information, Marino says.

The legislation would set up a system for reporting potential errors when using EHRs without the threat of the information being used as an admission of guilt. It further would enable providers using EHRs to take remedial measures without that action being used to establish guilt, places time limits on the filing of lawsuits, and offers protection against libel and slander suits.

The bill also calls for equitable assignment of responsibility, with each responsible party liable only for its proportional share of damages.

The bill was introduced without co-sponsors and referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Marino is a freshman representative with assignments on the Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security and Judiciary Committees. Text of the legislation is available at


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