The National Association for Home Care & Hospice is among several long-term post-acute care (LTPAC) and health information technology groups that have submitted comments to a House task force on ways to accelerate interoperability in the healthcare system.
“Despite widespread recognition that an interoperable health data environment that seamlessly connects all providers is a vital component of a modern and person-centered health system, major gaps exist in the LTPAC community’s ability to invest in, support and scale the kind of infrastructure that would make this kind of system a reality,” NAHC said in a statement.
The adoption and use of interoperable health information technology and electronic record systems in LTPAC lags other areas of healthcare, NAHC said. One reason why is LTPAC did not receive a piece of the massive federal funding from 2009’s Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, a law that poured billions of dollars into the acute care space to bolster hospital and physician EHR adoption and data-sharing protocols.
In light of this, Congress should direct the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to establish a financial incentives program for LTPAC providers making the transition to interoperable EHRs and technology, and direct funding to HHS’s Office of the National Coordinator to ensure interoperability between acute care LTPAC providers and other ancillary providers.
“Resources would support the implementation, use and sustainability of interoperable EHRs, infection and electronic clinical surveillance technology (ECST), and data-sharing standards and protocols for LTPAC that would govern the flow of information across provider settings,” NAHC said.