AHCA Joins Coalition Group Letters to Congress Offering Solutions for Post-Acute Care Technology Improvements

Advocacy; Health Information Technology; Long Term Care

AHCA/NCAL has co-signed a comment letter to the House Ways and Means Committee in response to a Request for Information (RFI) on Improving Access to Health Care in Rural and Underserved Areas.   

Also, AHCA/NCAL recently co-signed another comment letter through the same coalition to the House Budget Committee in response to a separate RFI​ on Solutions to Improve Patient Outcomes and Reduce Health Spending.   

The two comment letters, representing nine long term and post-acute care advocacy organizations emphasized that a comprehensive Federal support strategy is necessary to ensure interoperability of Health Information Technology (HIT) and data exchange and sharing across the care continuum, including technological functionality to improve quality of care, patient safety, and infection control – particularly in rural America.   

As it stands today, the rate of adoption and use of interoperable HIT among Long Term Post-Acute Care (LTPAC) providers lags far behind acute and ambulatory care providers. While current technology gaps and inconsistencies in adoption for these settings make it difficult to obtain a complete analysis, the full extent with which technology, such as electronic health records (EHRs) and electronic clinical surveillance technology (ECST), could be used to rein in costs has clearly not yet been realized. 

Legislative recommendations for necessary HIT Improvements in LTPAC settings offered in both letters included: 

  • Provide funding for LTPAC providers to adopt interoperable HIT with a focus on patient care and safety, including infection control and prevention. 
  • Direct funding to the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) to ensure proper bidirectional interoperability between acute care (e.g., hospitals and physicians), LTPAC providers and other ancillary providers (e.g., therapy, pharmacy, etc.). Resources would support the implementation, use, and sustainability of interoperable EHRs, infection and ECST.