AHA urges Congress to expand, protect access to health care-related data

AHA News Now

In response to a request from Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Charles Grassley (R-IA), AHA today urged Congress to increase access to meaningful and useful data across the care continuum while protecting the privacy and security of individual patient data as they consider ways to accelerate improvement in health care quality and value. Among other actions, Congress should direct the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to release certain Medicare data on Part  B carriers, Part D prescription drugs, Medicare Advantage enrollees, and inpatient hospital discharges, wrote Rick Pollack, AHA executive vice president. As data resources are expanded, AHA urged Congress to ensure that the privacy and security of individual patient information is maintained. As covered entities under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, health care providers, payers and clearinghouses bear special responsibilities to keep individual patient information private and secure, and face significant financial and criminal penalties in the event of unauthorized use or disclosures, the letter notes, protections that do not extend to entities that have not signed a specific agreement with a HIPAA-covered entity.

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