US Senate removes ban on a National Patient Identification strategy

Oct. 20, 2021

Patient ID Now, a coalition of healthcare organizations, applauds the US Senate for removing the longstanding ban that stifles innovation around patient identification from its Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Labor-HHS) appropriations bill, according to a release from The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

By joining the bipartisan movement to remove barriers to accurate patient identification, the Senate has taken a firm step towards protecting patient safety, patient privacy, and supporting efforts to address patient identification issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Patient ID Now has highlighted challenges caused by patient misidentification in the healthcare sector’s response to the pandemic. These challenges include thousands of duplicate records created during the vaccination registration process and disruptions in vaccine availability at provider sites because of inaccurate patient documentation.

With the US House of Representative’s removal of the ban in its Labor-HHS appropriations bill earlier this summer, Patient ID Now is calling on the full Congress to pass this into law and officially remove the two-decades old ban on addressing a national strategy for patient identification and matching.

“HIMSS applauds the Senate Appropriations Committee for removing the harmful ban and taking action to address patient identification,” said HIMSS President & CEO Hal Wolf. “The challenges our healthcare system experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic have underscored the urgent need for our community to engage with HHS to develop and advance a national patient identification strategy. For too long, this outdated prohibition has impeded innovation and jeopardized patient safety. It is time for Congress to finally repeal the ban.”

Ahima release