February 27, 2024


The business lovers

After 20-year effort, Tom Leary of HIMSS is optimistic for passage of patient identifier

 Tom Leary is senior vice president of Government Relations for HIMSS.

Photo: Susan Morse/Health care Finance News

LAS VEGAS Just after extra than 20 decades of doing the job toward the creation of a nationwide patient identifier, Tom Leary, senior vice president of Government Relations for HIMSS, is quite optimistic about the possibilities for accomplishment this yr, he informed these attending a World Public Coverage breakfast in the course of HIMSS21 here.

In July, for the first time, the House of Associates handed an appropriations bill that does not include things like the patient identifier ban, identified as Portion 510.

“Just about every yr, there has been a provision since 1999 to prevent it,” Leary mentioned.

The Portion 510 ban has been in spot owing to patient privacy good reasons.

But patient basic safety, and interoperability, can be superior served if every patient has an identification range, according to Leary.

For the very last two decades, the House has handed a provision to get rid of the ban. Yet again in 2020, the House voted to overturn the exceptional identifier ban.

But the appropriations bill has handed the House with the ban intact. 

Until eventually July. The challenge is now in the Senate, which ought to make a determination on appropriations just before the end of the fiscal yr on Sept. 30, Leary mentioned.

“I am quite optimistic,” Leary mentioned. “We’ve bought a solid coalition of voices. We’ve bought solid momentum in the House to at last eliminate the barrier to patient basic safety and interoperability.” 


Passage of the appropriations bill in the Senate would signify the Section of Wellness and Human Companies could get associated in a nationwide strategy to generate exceptional patient identifiers.

Overturning the ban would make it possible for sufferers to be identified by a range, which would guarantee that medical documents are linked to the suitable particular person, and not another specific named John Smith.

For occasion, it would help in the identification of sufferers receiving two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, Leary mentioned.

THE Bigger Development

Just after HIPAA handed in 1996, exceptional provider identifiers and exceptional medical device identifiers arrived into becoming. 

What’s wanted is a unique identifier for the patient.

A coalition of 40 healthcare organizations, which includes cofounder HIMSS, the mum or dad business of Health care Finance News, are portion of Patient ID Now to promote a nationwide strategy toward patient identification.

Interest is now turning toward patient input.

“We require to reignite the voice of the patient,” Leary mentioned.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
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