2021 Advocacy Priorities

Our advocacy agenda seeks to transform health and healthcare by connecting people, systems, and ideas.

At AHIMA, we’ve embraced three principles that underpin our work, our outlook, and our advocacy: access, integrity, and connection. As we work toward meaningful legislative and regulatory changes in 2021, AHIMA will work together with our members, national healthcare organizations, and other stakeholders to advance an advocacy agenda to realize our vision.

TAKE ACTION!

  • ACT NOW!  Tell the Senate to Support the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act - The bipartisan "Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act" has recently been introduced in the US Senate. We need your outreach to build support for this important legislation.
     
    Prior authorization continues to be the number one administrative burden identified by healthcare providers. In a 2018 report by the US Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of the Inspector General, it was found that Medicare Advantage Organizations (MAOs) overturned 75 percent of their own denials each year. These denials risk patient safety and add burdens to an already overburdened healthcare system.
     
    A 2020 survey from the American Medical Association stated that 30 percent of physicians reported that prior authorization requirements have led to a serious adverse event for a patient in their care. This legislation would modernize the way Medicare Advantage plans and healthcare providers use prior authorization, removing unnecessary steps and complications for patients while streamlining administrative processes associated with prior authorization.  
     
    As an AHIMA member, you are the voice of health information on the Hill. Contact your US Senators and ask them to support this vital legislation.

    Click the link below to email your Members of Congress now.

  • AHIMA is supporting the community through the 21st Century Cures Act in a multitude of ways:
    • Partnering with other professional organizations by posting consolidated sources along with our guidance in the Information Blocking Resource Center.
    • Advocating for health information through the development of policy statements which has been a priority this year with the major shifts in healthcare delivery. The policy statements on privacy (Health Information held by HIPAA Non-covered Entities) and individual access (Individual Access to Health Information) address the 21st century cure in support on consumer access and protection with APIs.
    • Producing guidance for our members through Journal of AHIMA articles on information blocking. also provide guidance
    • Electronic Health Information Task Force with AHIMA, AMIA (American Medical Informatics Association) and EHRA (Electronic Health Record Association) convened approximately 9 months ago to develop industry guidance related to the definition of electronic health information (EHI). Stakeholder vetting is underway, and a status update has been provided to the Office of National Coordinator for Health IT and the HHS Office for Civil Rights as well as other stakeholder organizations.

In support of our vision of a world where trusted information transforms health and healthcare by connecting people, systems, and ideas, we’re advocating for legislation and regulations in the following areas.

Access

  • Individual Access: Enhance individuals’ electronic, timely, and seamless access to their health information.
  • Consumer Engagement: Empower individuals to make better decisions about their own health by using trusted data from traditional and emerging data sources.
  • Affordability: Ensure patients have access to timely and accurate information about the cost of healthcare services to make informed care decisions, including information about their expected out-of-pocket costs.
  • Privacy: Address privacy and security gaps of HIPAA non-covered entities that collect, access, use, disclose, and maintain electronic health information.
  • Cybersecurity and Information Security: Enhance and improve the sharing of cyber threats, risks, and cyber hygiene practices in real-time.
  • Behavioral health: Encourage policies that further integrate and coordinate behavioral health information with physical health information.
  • Healthcare Reform: Promote the continuity of accurate, timely, and trusted health information regardless of health insurance coverage.

Connection

  • Patient Identification: Enhance accurate patient identification to improve patient safety, interoperability, and the appropriate use of workforce resources.
  • Integrating Clinical and Administrative Data: Enhance and influence efforts to better integrate clinical and administrative data to improve the patient experience, reduce clinician burden, and potentially reduce costs.
  • Interoperability: Champion modern data standards (including application programming interfaces) and related infrastructure to support technical, functional, and semantic interoperability across healthcare.
  • Public Health: Advocate for the use of accurate and timely data for public health responses and initiatives while protecting the confidentiality, privacy, and security of an individual’s health information.
  • Social Determinants of Health: Promote the collection, access, sharing, and use of social determinants of health (SDoH) to enrich clinical decision making and improve health outcomes, public health, and health inequities in ways that are culturally respectful.

Integrity

  • Data Quality: Advance the completeness, accuracy, and timeliness of health data by influencing the development and maintenance of national and international coding standards.
  • Data Integrity: Influence and advance policies that promote the accuracy, consistency, and trustworthiness of health information regardless of its form, origin or application.
  • Health Equity: Advocate for the collection, use, and sharing of accurate, unbiased, complete, and standardized health information as an integral part of efforts to reduce and eliminate health disparities and inequities.
  • Value-Based Care: Promote new payment and delivery models that leverage accurate, timely, and complete health information—as well as technology—in new and innovative ways.
  • Telehealth and Remote Patient Monitoring Technologies: Expand access to care through the use of telehealth and remote patient monitoring technologies, while ensuring the continuity of accurate, timely, and trusted health information and also protecting patient confidentiality, privacy and security.

Hot topics in Advocacy 2021

Resources

MaHIMA Legal Publications

MHA Medical Record Copying Fee 2020, released September 24, 2020

HHS Issues Important Notice That It Will Not Enforce Certain Fee Limitations On Individuals’ Requests To Transmit Health Records To Third Parties – January 28, 2020

Ciox Health LLC v. Azar

Title XVI; Chapter 111, Section 70 Records of Hospitals  or clinics; custody, inspection, copies, fees – 2016