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The US Senate can save lives by removing ban on unique patient identifier

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The US Senate has an unprecedented opportunity to remove a ban that has stifled efforts to establish a nationwide unique patient identifier. 

In June, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment that would remove a ban that has stifled efforts to establish a nationwide unique patient identifier. Now, it is up to the US Senate to move this issue forward by rejecting inclusion of outdated rider language in their appropriations bill that prohibits the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from spending any federal dollars to promulgate or adopt a national patient identifier.

According to a 2016 study of health care executives, misidentification costs the average health care facility $17.4 million per year in denied claims and potential lost revenue. More importantly, there are patient safety implications when data is matched to the wrong patient and when essential data is lacking from a patient’s record due to identity issues. 

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Source: The Hill, 11 September 2019

 

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