The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) sent a joint letter to Congressional leaders today voicing concerns that certain provisions of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC’s) recent 21st Century Cures Act (Cures) proposed rule on information blocking jeopardizes goals to foster a healthcare system that is interoperable, patient-engaged and reduces burdens for those delivering care.
The letter, co-signed by seven organizations representing the nation’s clinicians, hospitals, health systems and experts in health informatics and health information management, outlines several recommendations aimed at furthering the objectives of Cures, while ensuring that the final regulations do not unreasonably increase provider burden or hinder patient care.
“We support the intent of the Cures Act to eradicate practices that unreasonably limit the access, exchange and use of electronic health information for authorized and permitted purposes that have frustrated care coordination and improvements in healthcare quality and efficiency,” said AHIMA CEO Wylecia Wiggs Harris, PhD, CAE. “However, in light of the lessons learned from the meaningful use program, we believe it is crucial that we get this right. We look forward to discussing the details of these recommendations with congressional staff and ONC.”
Recommendations outlined in the letter include:
Additional rulemaking prior to finalization: ONC should seek further input from impacted stakeholders on issues including modifying the information blocking proposal to ensure that the requirements and exceptions are well-defined and understandable, and clinicians, hospitals and health information professionals are not inappropriately penalized if they are unable to provide a patient’s entire electronic health information through an application programming interface (API).
Enhanced privacy and security: The proposed rule does not sufficiently address Cures’ directives to protect patient data privacy and ensure health IT security. It is imperative that the Committee continues its oversight of privacy and security issues that fall outside of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulatory framework. This includes ensuring certified APIs include mechanisms to strengthen patients’ control over their data—including privacy notices, transparency statements and adherence to industry-recognized best practices.
Appropriate implementation timelines: ONC should establish reasonable timelines for any required use of certified health IT (CEHRT). Providers must be given sufficient time to deploy and test these systems, which must take into account competing regulatory mandates.
Revised enforcement: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services should use discretion in its initial enforcement of the data blocking provisions of the regulation, prioritizing education and corrective action plans over monetary penalties.
For additional information on these recommendations, click here.
Signatories of the letter include:
American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)
American Medical Association (AMA)
American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA)
College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME)
Federation of American Hospitals (FAH)
Medical Group Management Association (MGMA)
The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) recognized recipients of the 2019 AHIMA Triumph Awards at the Appreciation Celebration at Chicago’s Navy Pier during the AHIMA19: Health Data and Information Conference. This honor is presented to members who have demonstrated excellence in their dedication and service to the health information management profession.
“The AHIMA Triumph Awards recognize the contributions of health information management (HIM) leaders who have enriched the field by preparing future HIM professionals, encouraging fresh HIM talent and leadership and contributing to our knowledge base,” said AHIMA CEO Wylecia Wiggs Harris, PhD, CAE. “We are pleased to honor the following individuals with these awards.”
Distinguished Member Award
Cassi L. Birnbaum, MS, RHIA, CPHQ, FAHIMA, was named Distinguished Member, AHIMA’s highest honor. Birnbaum has been a dedicated volunteer for more than 30 years and has served as a past Board president/chair of AHIMA and as an AHIMA director. She led and guided the industry and profession through a successful transition to ICD-10, information governance, analytics, informatics and CDI strategies. She is currently employed by the University of California San Diego (UCSD) Health System as system-wide director of HIM/revenue integrity, as well as adjunct faculty member for San Diego Mesa College and UCSD Extension academic programs.
AHIMA is proud to have selected the Ohio Health Information Management Association (OHIMA) as the recipient of the 2019 AHIMA Advocacy Triumph Award. OHIMA advocated for the HIM profession by creating a short, animated video showcasing the diverse job settings, skills and functions that make up the HIM profession to aid potential students, human resource departments and the general HIM profession in understanding the field. Kristin M. Nelson, MS, RHIA; Lauren W. Manson, RHIA; and the OHIMA Board are credited with leading this strategic advocacy project.
Marquetta M. Massey, MBA, RHIA, was honored with the Educator Award. Massey has been an instructor at Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) in Charlotte, N.C. since 2012 and a program chair since 2015. In 2018, she received a CPCC award for “Best Instructional Video” based on her use of creative teaching tools and methods used in her online courses. Massey is recognized for her “student-first” stance and persistent and widespread use of technology to enhance her students’ learning experience. As a mentor and active member, Massey encourages students to become involved with AHIMA and their local state association.
Emerging Leader Award
Kenneth H. Lugo-Morales, MS, RHIA, received the Emerging Leader Award. Lugo-Morales directs the Health Information Management Department at the San Jorge Children and Women’s Hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he has successfully implemented a committee resulting in greater chargemaster accuracy and improved documentation and coding outcomes. He is a former president of the Puerto Rico Health Information Management Association (PRHIMA) and is a CSA Delegate to the AHIMA House of Delegates.
Patricia S. Coffey, RHIA, CPHIMS, CPHI, was honored with the Innovation Award. She is currently employed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as chief of the HIM department in the Clinical Center. Coffey helped influence NIH gender identity efforts, cutting-edge patient engagement and efforts to facilitate the collection and management of critical research data while ensuring the integrity of clinical data and patient information. Before transitioning to electronic medical records was a national initiative, she positioned the HIM department at NIH to transition to a completely paperless medical record.
Chrisann K. Lemery, MSE, RHIA, CHPS, FAHIMA, received the Leadership Award. She has served in various leadership capacities including president, past president and board member of the Wisconsin Health Information Management Association (WHIMA) and secretary of the AHIMA Board of Directors and Speaker of the House of Delegates. Lemery served on the award-winning HIPAA Collaborative of Wisconsin (HIPAA COW) Board of Directors as well as government-appointed committees addressing electronic health records and medical record copy fees. She has given more than 70 presentations sharing her knowledge.
Tressa A. Lyon, RHIT, received the Mentor Award. Lyon is currently the HIM manager at Norman Regional Hospital in Norman, Okla., and a member of the executive board for the Oklahoma Health Information Management Association (OkHIMA). She has been involved with professional committees and projects including the Medical Decision-Making Committee, the Patient Portal Committee and the Outcomes and Efficiencies Team. Lyon serves as a mentor for many colleges and universities in Oklahoma and through OkHIMA.
Rising Star Award
Laura A. Shue, MPA, CHDA, CPHIMS, was awarded the Rising Star Award. Shue received a master’s in public administration with a concentration in healthcare administration from Eastern Michigan University. She earned her CHDA in 2012 and CPHIMS in 2016. Shue currently serves as the HIM operations director for Michigan Medicine where she has engaged in wide-scale efforts to reduce medical record delinquencies and improve EHR functionality, and has advocated for quality, data management, data analytics and management development. She is currently president-elect of the Michigan Health Information Management Association (MHIMA).
This new technology is being added as an online component to AHIMA’s most popular textbook Health Information Management Technology: An Applied Approach, Sixth Edition and was announced during AHIMA’s 2019 Assembly on Education Symposium/Faculty Development Institute (AOE/FDI). AOE/FDI is the premier conference for health information and informatics educators and the primary forum for leadership in HIM education.
“We are thrilled to add this advanced tool to our flagship textbook which will provide personalized learning experiences to HIM students,” said AHIMA CEO Wylecia Wiggs Harris. “As a leader in HIM, we take pride in delivering the best education possible to students entering the field who will play a crucial role in furthering the profession.”
The adaptive learning model uses artificial intelligence backed technology to provide a customized experience to each learner. It presents progressive content and allows students to receive follow-up in areas in which they need additional guidance. This approach is based on each learner’s individual needs to fill skill gaps and build greater competency, quickly, and effectively in key areas.
“We are very pleased to partner with AHIMA in offering personalized adaptive learning features in its flagship textbook. Adaptive learning meets learners where they are—helping them gain the knowledge and skills they need to practice with greater competence and confidence in their abilities.” said Ulrik Juul Christensen, M.D., Area9 Lyceum CEO.
The online adaptive learning online component will be available for purchase in March 2020. More information will be available soon on AHIMA’s website.
Members of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) called on Congress to better serve and protect the growing population of healthcare consumers who use technology – such as social media, wearables and mobile health (mHealth) apps – to manage their health. AHIMA members met with Congressional leaders in Washington, D.C. on this issue, among others relating to the need for HIPAA modernization, during the 2019 AHIMA Advocacy Summit.
These technologies, referred to by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) as “non-covered entities” (NCEs), are not covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act’s (HIPAA) individual right of access laws, meaning that an individual often times has no right to request their sensitive health information from such technologies. Rather, in many cases, whether such health information may be shared with the individual is left up to the discretion of the application itself.
To ensure this growing patient group’s information is both accessible and protected, AHIMA recommends lawmakers develop or direct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to define HIPAA NCEs in law, extending HIPAA’s individual right of access to these entities. This will ensure the same uniform data access policy for individuals using health technologies.
“As technology continues to shape healthcare, the number of patients using wearables, social media and mobile apps for health purposes has skyrocketed, but this shift in how patients record data shouldn’t affect their level of protection and access,” said AHIMA CEO Wylecia Wiggs Harris, PhD, CAE. “AHIMA’s members are pushing for a solution that balances access to information, patient protection and maximizing use of technology.”
During the Summit, AHIMA advocated for three additional key issues related to patient information and the need for a modernized version of HIPAA: