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CMS clarifies texting policy: Medical orders are not HIPAA compliant; most other texts are permitted

Wed, January 03, 2018 11:17 AM | Babette Grey (Administrator)

As seen in the January 3, 2018 edition of AAOS Headline News

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a clarification to its policy on texting by healthcare providers. 

A recent report from the Health Care Compliance Association suggested that CMS was requiring healthcare providers to halt all texting. 

In response, the agency says that it "recognizes that the use of texting as a means of communication with other members of the healthcare team has become an essential and valuable means of communication among the team members. However, the agency states that the "practice of texting orders from a provider to a member of the care team is not in compliance with the Conditions of Participation (CoPs) or Conditions for Coverage (CfCs)," and goes on to note that, in order to be compliant with the CoPs or CfCs, "all providers must utilize and maintain systems/platforms that are secure, encrypted, and minimize the risks to patient privacy and confidentiality as per HIPAA [Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act] regulations and the CoPs or CfCs.

 It is expected that providers/organizations will implement procedures/processes that routinely assess the security and integrity of the texting systems/platforms that are being utilized, in order to avoid negative outcomes that could compromise the care of patients."

Read the complete CMS Statement

Questions? Please email Marie.Vasbinder1@cms.hhs.gov 

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