News: Patients now required to have access to medical records and info, potential impact on quality and revenue
Thanks to the updated 21st Century Cures Act, patients now have access to their medical and payment records, as well as any information providers use to make decisions about the patient’s care. This is thanks to the definition of electronic health information expanding in October to include all electronic protected health information for patients. Medical records, billing records, enrollment, payment, claims adjudication, and case or medical management record systems are part of the data now required to be accessible, HealthLeaders reported.
In September, the American Hospital Association (AHA) advocated for a one-year extension to this update citing a lack of resources to streamline these requests. According to the AHA's letter, "Despite our best efforts to educate our members, significant knowledge gaps and confusion still exist within the provider and vendors communities with respect to implementation and enforcement of information blocking regulations."
The department of Health and Human Services (HHS) did not grant the expansion and in the month since, revenue cycle leaders have seen an influx of patient confusion and demands for their record to be changed.
“Quite frankly, when some patients see an insurer's use of CPT and ICD-10-CM codes, it can be like a foreign language, and it can cause real confusion,” Chris Johnson, vice president of revenue cycle at Atrium Health, told HealthLeaders.
As these changes impact hospitals more and more, updating and streamlining processes to determine how to address patient concerns and questions may be needed.