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Patients Before Paperwork

Over the years, the federal government has prioritized initiatives to improve the electronic exchange of health information and ensure that a patient's health information follows the patient across the health care continuum. ACP has been supportive of these goals and believes improved interoperability across the entire health care continuum will ultimately help decrease a lot of existing burden. However, it is not feasible for physicians to expend the time and resources necessary to become compliant with the recent health information sharing regulations given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The College was successful in advocating for a delay in the information blocking compliance dates (the new compliance deadline is now April 5, 2021) but still felt it did not go far enough. Most recently, ACP sent the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology comments outlining these concerns around the burden placed on practices, who are already overtaxed by the pandemic response and fleeting resources, to develop an entirely new compliance program for information blocking. In addition to ongoing advocacy, the College plans to develop information blocking/data sharing regulatory resources for members by early 2021.

In other advocacy news, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released two new proposed regulations just in time for the holiday break! The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released a “Provider Burden” and “Electronic Prior Authorization” proposed regulation on December 10, 2020, that aims to reduce prior authorization burden through establishing standards and implementation guides. ACP will review and provide feedback; however, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services provided an extremely short comment window for a very complex, technical regulation, and the College signed on to a letter with a number of other physician organizations asking for more time to comment. Additionally, the Office of Civil Rights released a proposed regulation outlining updates to the HIPAA Privacy Rule, which adds another layer of regulatory complexity and burden to the efforts to improve health information sharing across the health care continuum.

Patients Before Paperwork Update

If you would like to work with your chapter to advocate for regulatory relief during the COVID-19 crisis, please visit ACP's Chapter Advocacy Toolkit for more resources and calls to action.

ACP Patients Before Paperwork Initiative

Patients Before Paperwork is an ACP initiative designed to reinvigorate the patient–physician relationship by challenging unnecessary practice burdens. To help the Patients Before Paperwork Initiative, provide your feedback with our online data collection tool and contact the Patients Before Paperwork team directly at policy-regs@acponline.org.

Back to the January 15, 2021 issue of ACP IM Thriving