McMorris Rodgers Introduces Ensuring Patient Access to Healthcare Records Act

Dec 11, 2017
Health Care

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 11, 2017) – Today, Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) introduced the bipartisan Ensuring Patient Access to Healthcare Records Act, which gives medical record clearinghouses the ability to provide patients with their own comprehensive healthcare records, and allows them to analyze claims data for the good of public health.

“Even in the age of technology, it can be difficult for patients to obtain their comprehensive health records. Whether it’s because of a move to a new state, switching providers, an unexpected visit to the emergency room, or a new doctor, patients must track down their own records from numerous different sources based on what they can or cannot remember,” said McMorris Rodgers. “It shouldn’t be this burdensome. Our bill gives patients the ability to see a snapshot of their health records at just a simple request, allowing them to make better, more informed healthcare decisions in a timely manner.”

NOTE: Each year, healthcare clearinghouses process hundreds of millions of transactions safely and securely from more than 5,000 hospitals, 900,000 doctors, 66,000 pharmacies and 20,000 labs across the country. These records include information about the provider, the diagnosis, and the treatment for each episode of care. Today, clearinghouses have the capability to link this data and build longitudinal health records to provide patients with a comprehensive health record.

Clearinghouses can also analyze this data to provide real-world solutions to address important public policy goals through tracking patient outcomes and broad-based analysis of readmissions, comorbidities, and adverse outcomes across the entire continuum of service providers; near real-time tracking of significant disease outbreaks or epidemics; and improving and allowing for greater access to new drugs and therapies.

Regrettably, clearinghouses are currently unable to offer this transformative service to patients and other stakeholders due to the administration’s rules implementing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). This legislation works to change that so patients all across Eastern Washington can have access to comprehensive medical records.

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