top of page
  • Writer's pictureJulie Barnes

February 10, 2023

Maverick's Update

Only What Matters In Health Information Policy

Because literally no one drinks Pepsi anymore, the company hired both Steve Martin and Ben Stiller to do separate, hilarious Super Bowl ads pretending to like Pepsi Zero. While we are super excited to watch good ads like these, we wonder what will happen when the youngest quarterback matchup in Super Bowl history play ball this weekend. We also wonder what would happen if a large, American black bear ingested a duffel bag full of cocaine. Luckily, Elizabeth Banks directed a movie called Cocaine Bear. Problem solved! While we wait for that film to hit theaters, we ponder other eyebrow-raising news in health policy below -- in the One Thoughtful Paragraph.

We are not sure what to expect from this push and pull on health information exchange news:

  • Hospitals are not sharing health information as much as they should be, according to the ONC 2021 Hospital Interoperability report. The consumer advocacy group, Patient Rights Advocate, piled on this week in its report claiming that only 25% of hospitals complied with a rule requiring them to post pricing information for all items and services.

  • A group of U.S. Senators is asking some direct-to-consumer telehealth companies to be very careful about sharing sensitive health information, sending them a letter requesting information about their data collection and sharing practices.

  • Sharing health information seems important, if you are one of the 1,400 organizations (hospitals, outpatient facilities, physician practices, health plans, and community-based organizations) that joined California’s Health and Human Services Data Exchange Framework, the first-ever statewide health data sharing agreement of its kind in California. CalHHS is collecting comments this week on policies and procedures for the new framework, which is designed to help address the social issues that impact health care.

One Thoughtful Paragraph

True story from 1985: a large, black bear who was minding his own business in Tennessee came across a duffle bag containing 40 packages of cocaine after an airborne smuggler dropped it. The poor bear promptly ingested $20M worth. Understandably, the funny, creative people of the world took this story and ran with it in Cocaine Bear. What is less funny but equally perplexing is the U.S. Department of Justice’s decision to suddenly withdraw three long-time health care antitrust enforcement policies. These non-binding guidance documents were never considered “the law” but were relied on for decades by the health industry as the parameters for acceptable information sharing between competitors. The DOJ claims that, given the dramatic changes in the health care landscape over the years, the statements are “overly permissive on certain subjects, such as information sharing” and announced its intention to evaluate mergers and conduct on a case-by-case basis. Rather than “Justice Department Withdraws Outdated Enforcement Policy Statements,” the DOJ’s press release headline could have been “Announcing Our Full Employment Act for Lawyers.” An impressive number of law firms (see just a sample here, here, here, here, here, here, here) immediately realized that no one, including them, knows exactly what this means (but everyone will need to hire them to figure it out). So we are quite curious about the impact of this move by the DOJ when there is a concerted effort by other parts of the government to encourage more health information exchange. It is like what one Cocaine Bear character says after seeing the bear ingest cocaine: "Let's see what kind of effect it has on it."

62 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Maverick's Update Only What Matters In Health Information Policy Happy St. Patrick’s Day! The spring holiday falls during the Christian season of Lent, when strict rules that forbid meat-eating or alc

Maverick's Update Only What Matters in Health Information Policy Only one guy wanted the job of passing out Oscars this year: late night show host Jimmy Kimmel. According to the promo, ABC chose Jimmy

Maverick's Update Only What Matters in Health Information Policy Just like the original recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken, secrets are supposed to be kept secret (oops). That is why we enjoy the 2007

bottom of page