August 06, 2020

Senators Hassan, Cassidy Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Improve Electronic Health Record Systems, Strengthen COVID-19 Response

Inadequate Patient Matching Poses a Danger to Patients and Complicates Contact Tracing Efforts

 

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) introduced bipartisan legislation to improve patient record matching among health care providers and strengthen the country’s COVID-19 response efforts. The bipartisan Patient Matching Improvement Act works to address inadequate patient matching – the ability to link records for an individual patient across multiple health care providers – which can pose dangers to patients and complicates contact tracing efforts.

 

The Senators’ legislation would work to improve the exchange of health information between health IT systems, including those in hospitals and COVID-19 testing laboratories, by ensuring that the United States Postal Service (USPS) address-formatting tool – which is currently used by online retailers – is also available for use by health care providers. Research released last year indicated that use of the USPS address formatting standards could result in tens of thousands of additional correct record linkages per day. Earlier this month, Senator Hassan urged the Department of Health and Human Services and USPS to collaborate in modernizing health care records.

 

“Giving health care providers access to the Postal Service’s existing address tools would help save lives by making it easier to conduct COVID-19 contact tracing,” Senator Hassan said. “This common-sense bipartisan legislation should be included in the next COVID-19 relief package.”

  

Senators Hassan and Cassidy are working together to improve the health care system for all Americans. Last year, the President signed into law bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Hassan and Cassidy to close a loophole in the Medicaid rebate program that results in big pharmaceutical companies overcharging taxpayers. Senators Hassan and Cassidy are also leading efforts to address surprise medical bills and worked with members from both parties to craft the STOP Surprise Medical Bills Act to end this practice. Last year, Senators Hassan and Cassidy joined President Trump at a White House event on the need to address this issue. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee – on which Senators Hassan and Cassidy serve – passed legislation to end surprise medical bills as part of a broader package of legislation to address health care costs called the Lower Health Care Costs Act.

 

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