Welcome to the third of our business and healthcare law firm’s holiday-themed blog posts. This week’s post is inspired by my favorite holiday movie, A Christmas Story, and the eloquent words Ralphie wrote: “A Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock, and this thing which tells time.” Analyzing Ralphie’s literary genius, he gave Miss Shields three enticing facts: the main description, a vital component, and an interesting addition. Following suit, I will provide three enticing facts of CMS’ new proposed rule.
First, the shortened name of the rule is: “Reducing Provider and Patient Burden by Improving Prior Authorization Processes and Promoting Patients’ Electronic Access to Health Information.” According to CMS, the purpose of the proposed rule is “[t]o drive interoperability, improve care coordination, reduce burden on providers and payers, and empower patients.” The ingenuity of the proposed rule stems from the fact that it is not only designed to grant patients better access to their records; it is designed to grant all vital parties’ necessary access to records—meaning patients, payors, and providers.
Second, the new rule requires each payer to use an Application Programming Interface (“API”) that allows each payer’s system to communicate with other payers. The new rule also does not require patients to request the transfer of claims data. As such, a patient’s new payer will have access to all of his or her claims data almost immediately upon enrollment. Importantly, on the new API, payers can send “patient claims, encounter data, and clinical data directly to providers.” Verma, Seema, Reducing Provider and Patient Burden and Promoting Patients’ Electronic Access to Health Information, CMS.gov (Dec. 10, 2020).