HIA Urges Senate Appropriators to Lift Outdated Ban on National Patient Identifier

Coalition rallies support for support commonsense patient matching solutions

WASHINGTON, DC (September 18, 2019): Health Innovation Alliance responded today to Senate appropriators' failure to include needed provisions in a draft funding bill lifting the antiquated federal ban on funding for a national patient identifier - sometimes called a Unique Patient Identifier or "UPI."

The lack of proper patient matching mechanisms has been a culprit behind avoidable medical errors and even patient fatalities, leading the respected ECRI Institute to declare patient identification among the top 10 safety concerns in 2017. Health Innovation Alliance co-led an effort to adopt language allowing a UPI to move forward in the House of Representatives, which was realized with the bipartisan adoption of an amendment by Representatives Bill Foster (D-IL) and Mike Kelly (R-PA) earlier this year.

"Senate appropriators' initial rejection of the overwhelming, bipartisan will of the House of Representative on UPI funding is disappointing, but there is still time to change course," said HIA Executive Director Joel White. "This outdated ban has contributed to healthcare waste and misspending while threatening patient safety for far too long. With the UPI ban in place, studies show patients are accurately matched to their medical records as seldom as 50 percent of the time. That is a failing score that Washington must not accept. As we speak, Health Innovation Alliance is putting the final touches on an October 23rd Congressional briefing that will urge the Senate to follow the House's lead and tear down this senseless barrier to responsible, lifesaving patient matching solutions without delay."

Background:
Health Innovation Alliance hosted the House sponsor of the amendment to lift the UPI ban, Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL) at its September meeting just last week. The coalition's forthcoming Congressional briefing on patient matching solutions is slated for Wednesday, October 23rd at 3 PM ET in the Kennedy Caucus Room of the Russell Senate Office Building (Room 325) with more details to be announced.

###

We are patient groups, provider organizations, employers, insurers, and startup innovators
committed to transforming healthcare. The Health Innovation Alliance (formerly Health IT Now)
exists to improve healthcare by advancing healthcare connectivity, unlocking the abundance of
useful data in our healthcare system, modernizing data privacy, and fundamentally redefining
care delivery. Learn more at
Health-Innovation.org.