Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New Legislation Introduced

The “Safeguarding Access for Every Medicare Patient Act” (HR 3239) was introduced by Representative Tom Marino (R-PA) on October 26th to help providers who will eventually be required to participate in electronic recordkeeping or face a reduction in payments.

“Many providers are reluctant to use electronic records because they believe the practice will make them more vulnerable to unnecessary legal action,” said Marino. “Every time a doctor or hospital chooses not to participate because of these fears, seniors may lose another provider. This legislation would protect access for seniors in the Medicare and Medicaid Programs.”

The legislation would ensure Patient access to Medicare and Medicaid providers, reduce healthcare costs, guarantee incentives to providers to remain in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and would promote participation in health IT.

HR 3239 would create a system for reporting potential errors that occur when using electronic records without the threat of that information being used as an admission of guilt, places time limits on the filing of lawsuits, and also offers protection against libel and slander lawsuits. It would also prevent electronic records from being used as an easy source for “fishing expeditions,” while making sure that parties responsible for errors are held accountable.