The standard unique Health Plan Identifier and Other Entity Identifier no longer serve the purposes for which they were adopted.
That’s the message the American Hospital Association delivered on Tuesday in a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in response to a proposed CMS rule to rescind the adoption of the HPID and the OEID.
“The AHA is fully supportive of the decision to rescind the HPID and OEID and urge CMS to do so immediately,” wrote Ashley Thompson, AHA’s senior vice president for public policy analysis and development, to the agency. “We believe it is appropriate to eliminate the HPID/OEID altogether.”
In particular, the hospital group points out that the “need for implementing the HPID has long been questioned by the covered entities” and that, as a result, the Department of Health and Human Services “delayed the enforcement of the regulation pertaining to the use of the HPID in HIPAA transactions beginning Oct. 31, 2014.”
In late 2014, the advisory group National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS) recommended to HHS that HPID not be used in HIPAA transactions. Soon after the recommendation, HHS delayed enforcement of the rule.
More recently, the AHA’s letter referenced a May 2017 NCVHS Standards Subcommittee hearing at which witnesses “concurred that the transaction routing challenges of two decades ago have been resolved by the industry through the use of payer IDs and that it would be a costly, complicated and burdensome disruption for them to implement the HPID.”
In its letter to CMS, the AHA pointed out the challenges and burdens that implementing the HPID and OEID would have on all covered entities that use HIPAA transactions.
“We understand that the intent of the HIPAA legislation is to reduce administrative costs and make administrative processes more efficient,” wrote Thompson. “However, providing a different data element in the form of the HPID/OEID would not have addressed other issues related to routing challenges, benefit information and improved automation for administrative tasks.”
In addition, the AHA offered support for CMS’s decision to “disallow the voluntary use of the HPID or OEID between willing trading partners,” noting that there is “no business use case for the HPID/OEID, moreover, a voluntary model would result in confusion and unnecessary costs to the covered entities that use HIPAA transactions.”