The federal government is making a big push to improve information sharing between skilled nursing facilities and other providers, announcing several moves on Monday.
Notable for SNFs, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said it is releasing a request for input on how the agency can promote interoperability between hospitals and post-acute settings. On top of that, federal officials announced an anticipated rule that would require public reporting of instances when doctors or hospitals have blocked requests for patient information from nursing homes or other providers.
“For far too long, electronic health information has been stuck in silos and inaccessible for healthcare consumers,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement. “Our proposals help break down existing barriers to important data exchange needed to empower patients by giving them access to their health data.”
All told, the sweeping announcement includes two proposed rules and two requests for information. Besides the aforementioned, CMS wants to require that all Medicare Advantage and Medicaid managed care plans share electronic medical claims information by 2020. A second request for information, meanwhile, would seek insights into the role of patient identification in encouraging better coordination across care settings.
Advocacy group Health IT Now said Monday that such changes are long overdue.
“Congress doled out nearly $40 billion to ensure patient information could be shared and used to improve care. Yet we never ensured bad actors weren’t blocking information — and they were, to the harm of patients and taxpayers,” Executive Director Joel White said in a statement. “This shameful business practice must stop and today’s rules are a first step.”