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September 28, 2022

Around the nation: Industry groups ask HHS to postpone regulation requiring hospitals and doctors to share medical records

Daily Briefing

    Several industry organizations on Monday asked HHS to postpone a regulation that would require doctors and hospitals to share medical records, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia and Massachusetts.

    • District of Columbia: On Monday, several industry groups, including the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, sent a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra asking the agency to postpone a regulation requiring the sharing of medical records. Under the regulation, health care providers, health IT developers, and health information exchanges and networks would be required to share all electronic health information—with certain privacy and security exceptions—effective Oct. 6. In their request, the organizations asked HHS to postpone the deadline until next year, citing technical challenges. "Our members have been working diligently towards meeting the upcoming—and rapidly approaching—October 6th information blocking deadline with the expanded electronic health information (EHI) definition," the organizations wrote. "They are making every feasible effort, many with scarce resources, to ensure that they are prepared to be in compliance—from both a vendor readiness standpoint, as well as from a comprehension standpoint." However, "it is evident that both healthcare providers, clinicians and vendors are not fully prepared for the October 6th deadline," the organizations added. "Small providers/clinicians' awareness remains very low, and they are relying heavily on their vendors." (Leonard, Politico Pro [subscription required], 9/26; HHS letter, 9/26)
    • District of Columbia: The Senate last week confirmed President Joe Biden's nominee to lead the Indian Health Service (IHS). Roselyn Tso will lead the agency, which has been without a permanent leader for 20 months. Previously, Tso led the agency's operations for the Navajo Nation. At her confirmation hearing, Tso committed to prioritize patient safety, worker retention, and technology upgrades at hospitals and clinics. "Ms. Tso was born and raised on the Navajo Nation and understands the health care needs that many first people of this country deal with," said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez. "Her work ethic, value system and approach to problem solving demonstrates the resilience of Indigenous peoples and the commitment to combat the systemic inequities that impact tribal nations." (Young, The Oklahoman, 9/23)
    • Massachusetts: Over a year ago, Philips Respironics recalled more than 5 million breathing devices, including continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) devices, and mechanical ventilators. Patients and providers are still being impacted by an ongoing backlog of devices. "It's had a very wide-ranging set of impacts on sleep medicine practice, and more importantly, for patients," said Shannon Sullivan, a pediatric sleep medicine specialist in California and chair of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine's public safety committee. "There were more than 5 million devices recalled worldwide. Many, many, many of our patients use these types of devices." (Henderson, MedPage Today, 9/21)

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