Proposed MU Rules Draw Strong Reaction

Margaret Dick Tocknell, May 9, 2012

More than 270 interested parties filed public comments regarding the Meaningful Use Stage 2 proposed rules, but it is a few paragraphs in the 68-page comment letter from the American Hospital Association (AHA) that has drawn the attention and ire of patient and consumer advocate groups.

Citing HIPAA concerns, the AHA disagrees with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services proposal "to provide patients with the ability to view, download, and transmit large volumes of protected health information via the Internet."

It also terms as "too aggressive" the proposal that electronic information about a hospital admission be available within 36 hours of discharge for at least 50% of the patients. In addition, the AHA questions the authority of CMS to require that 10 percent of all discharged patients view, download or transmit to a third party their information during the reporting period for meaningful use.

Public reaction to the AHA's comments was blunt:

  • Deven McGraw, a lawyer and director of the Health Privacy Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology, said in this blog post that "getting patients critical information about their hospital stay could have an impact on their ability to recover. Patients should expect hospitals to be their partners in healthcare—but in no partnership that I'm aware of does one side get to hoard all of the relevant information."
  • Daniel Z. Sands, MD, president of the Society for Participatory Medicine, which represents both clinicians and patients, made this press statement: "Patient engagement is the cornerstone of a successful, cost effective, and high-quality health care system. Those goals cannot be achieved unless we give patients access to their own health information and encourage them to use it."
  • Columnist e-Patient Dave at e-patients.net suggested that the AHA had declared war on patient empowerment.
Margaret Dick Tocknell Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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