AHIP Statement On Final CMS And ONC Interoperability Rules

posted by AHIP

on April 21, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Matt Eyles, president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), issued this statement following the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) final rule on Interoperability and Patient Access, and the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology final rule on Interoperability, Information Blocking, and the ONC Health IT Certification Program:

Americans should be empowered to get their health care information when they need it, in a convenient format, to help them make better, more informed health care choices. That’s why health insurance providers continue to make personalized tools available to deliver actionable health information, from patient portals to mobile apps and telehealth services.

We appreciate that CMS has provided for a period of enforcement discretion to allow hospitals and health insurance providers to remain focused on caring for patients through the COVID-19 crisis, but we expect that short period will need to be extended, given the magnitude and anticipated duration of the challenges. At the same time, our underlying concerns remain. We are seriously concerned that patient privacy will still be at risk when health care information is transferred outside the protections of federal patient privacy laws. Individually identifiable health care information can readily be bought and sold on the open market and combined with other personal health data by unknown and potentially bad actors. Consumers will ultimately have no control over what data the app developers sell, to whom or for how long.

Health insurance providers share the Administration’s vision for expanded consumer data access now more than ever. However, when it comes to transparency in health care, patients overwhelmingly want two things – for the information to be clear, concise, and customized, and for their privacy to be protected. We must work together to protect patient privacy, reduce health care costs, and get personalized information into the hands of patients. Sixty two percent of Americans say that stronger protection of their personal privacy should outweigh any efforts to make it easier to access consumer health care data, and 90% believe that private technology companies should be held to the same privacy standards as health insurance providers.

We will continue to work toward the shared goal of health care data interoperability in ways that enhance care coordination, safety, efficiency, value, and patient privacy.