2022 Advocacy Priorities

Our advocacy agenda seeks to transform health and healthcare by connecting people, systems, and ideas.

At AHIMA, we’ve embraced three principles that underpin our work, our outlook, and our advocacy: access, integrity, and connection. As we work toward meaningful legislative and regulatory changes in 2022, AHIMA will work together with our members, national healthcare organizations, and other stakeholders to advance an advocacy agenda to realize our vision.

CALL TO ACTION!
Send your Representative an email today asking them to vote yes this week on the Improving Seniors' Timely Access to Care Act.

AHIMA needs your help to raise support for the LINC to Address Social Needs Act! Take part by visiting the AHIMA Action Center now to urge your members of Congress to cosponsor the bill and foster improved linkages between clinical health and social services.

Improving Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) is an AHIMA advocacy priority, which includes supporting the use of SDOH data to enhance care coordination across sectors. The LINC to Address Social Needs Act would assist states in establishing or enhancing community integration network infrastructure for clinical health and social services, while at the same time giving states the flexibility needed to design networks unique to their needs.

AHIMA needs your help to reach out to your members of Congress to urge them to cosponsor the LINC to Address Social Needs Act.   

Take action here!

Capitol Hill Update

Prior Authorization: The bipartisan Improving Seniors' Timely Access to Care Act is scheduled for a vote on the House floor this Wednesday, September 14, 2022. This bill would modernize the way Medicare Advantage plans and healthcare providers use prior authorization, including reducing administrative burden and reducing delayed care. Write your Representative today and urge them to vote yes on the bill this week.

Federal Budget Watch: The Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) federal budget runs out on September 30, 2022, with FY23 officially beginning on October 1, 2022. Because Democrats and Republicans have not yet come to an agreement on the 12 appropriations bills that comprise the federal budget, leaders are looking to pass a short-term continuing resolution (CR) to keep federal agencies funded at the previous year's levels through December 9 or 16. This is the only "must-pass" bill Congress has on its agenda between now and the November midterm elections.
 
What this means for patient identification: In July, the US House of Representatives Appropriations  Committee passed its FY23 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) appropriations bill, which repealed Section 510, the ban on a unique patient identifier, for the fourth year in a row. Also in July, the US Senate Appropriations Committee released its draft appropriations bills, including the Labor-HHS appropriation bill that also repealed Section 510 for the second year in a row. A continuing resolution means the ban will remain in place during the duration of the CR. The ban will only be lifted if a final federal budget is passed and the ban remains out during final negotiations of that budget.
 
Privacy: Work on the American Data Privacy and Protection Act has stalled despite being voted out of the House Energy & Commerce Committee 53-2 due to concerns about preemption of California's state privacy laws. Speaker Pelosi (D-CA) said she will work with the committee to address concerns of California lawmakers to hopefully get the legislation moving again.

 

Federal Agency Update

TEFCA: The Sequoia Project acting as the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA) Recognized Coordinating Entity (RCE) announced the application period for those interested in becoming a Qualified Health Information Network (QHIN) will open on October 3. As part of the announcement, the Sequoia Project also released the final QHIN Application and Onboarding and Designation SOP documents.

OIG: The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released two reports on health equity opportunities and the program integrity risks associated with the proliferation of telehealth as a result of COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) relaxations.

CMS: AHIMA submitted comments on the Calendar Year 2023 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) and Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) proposed rules. In both letters, AHIMA indicated it does not support CMS' proposed change in terminology from "skin substitutes" to "wound care management" or "wound care management products."

CMS also released a request for information (RFI) seeking input on patient access to healthcare and related challenges, providers experiences, advancing health equity, and the impact of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) waivers and flexibilities. Interested parties can respond through an online feedback form. AHIMA intends to provide feedback on this RFI.

SRA Tool Webinars: The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) will be hosting webinars on September 14 and September 15 on the Security Risk Assessment (SRA). The sessions will provide a basic overview of the tool, as well as offer an opportunity for participants to ask questions.


AHIMA Advocacy Training Modules

Module 1:  Discovering the Power of Advocacy
Module 2:  Understanding the Regulatory Process and Federal Regulatory Industries
Module 3:  How to Meet with Members of Congress and Elected Officials
Module 4:  Leveraging Social Media for Grassroots Advocacy

Access

  • Individual Access: Enhance individuals’ electronic, timely, and seamless access to their health information.
  • Consumer Engagement: Empower individuals to make better decisions about their own health by using trusted data from traditional and emerging data sources.
  • Affordability: Ensure patients have access to timely and accurate information about the cost of healthcare services to make informed care decisions, including information about their expected out-of-pocket costs.
  • Privacy: Address privacy and security gaps of HIPAA non-covered entities that collect, access, use, disclose, and maintain electronic health information.
  • Cybersecurity and Information Security: Enhance and improve the sharing of cyber threats, risks, and cyber hygiene practices in real-time.
  • Behavioral health: Encourage policies that further integrate and coordinate behavioral health information with physical health information.
  • Healthcare Reform: Promote the continuity of accurate, timely, and trusted health information regardless of health insurance coverage.

Connection

  • Patient Identification: Enhance accurate patient identification to improve patient safety, interoperability, and the appropriate use of workforce resources.
  • Integrating Clinical and Administrative Data: Enhance and influence efforts to better integrate clinical and administrative data to improve the patient experience, reduce clinician burden, and potentially reduce costs.
  • Interoperability: Champion modern data standards (including application programming interfaces) and related infrastructure to support technical, functional, and semantic interoperability across healthcare.
  • Public Health: Advocate for the use of accurate and timely data for public health responses and initiatives while protecting the confidentiality, privacy, and security of an individual’s health information.
  • Social Determinants of Health: Promote the collection, access, sharing, and use of social determinants of health (SDoH) to enrich clinical decision making and improve health outcomes, public health, and health inequities in ways that are culturally respectful.

Integrity

  • Data Quality: Advance the completeness, accuracy, and timeliness of health data by influencing the development and maintenance of national and international coding standards.
  • Data Integrity: Influence and advance policies that promote the accuracy, consistency, and trustworthiness of health information regardless of its form, origin or application.
  • Health Equity: Advocate for the collection, use, and sharing of accurate, unbiased, complete, and standardized health information as an integral part of efforts to reduce and eliminate health disparities and inequities.
  • Value-Based Care: Promote new payment and delivery models that leverage accurate, timely, and complete health information—as well as technology—in new and innovative ways.
  • Telehealth and Remote Patient Monitoring Technologies: Expand access to care through the use of telehealth and remote patient monitoring technologies, while ensuring the continuity of accurate, timely, and trusted health information and also protecting patient confidentiality, privacy and security.
Resources

MaHIMA Legal Publications

MHA Medical Record Copying Fee 2020, released September 24, 2020

HHS Issues Important Notice That It Will Not Enforce Certain Fee Limitations On Individuals’ Requests To Transmit Health Records To Third Parties – January 28, 2020

Ciox Health LLC v. Azar

Title XVI; Chapter 111, Section 70 Records of Hospitals  or clinics; custody, inspection, copies, fees – 2016