Health information laws can be coordinated with health system delivery improvements under EPSDT

September 05, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC (September 5, 2013) -- A new analysis by researchers at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (SPHHS) examines the relationship between health information laws and health system improvements for children and adolescents under Medicaid's Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit. EPSDT ensures comprehensive coverage of children's health care needs, and its benefits are of particular importance for children and adolescents with physical and mental health conditions that can lead to lifelong disability when not addressed during the developmental years.

The report analyzes a wide range of laws governing health information, such as the HIPAA Privacy Rule, state confidentiality laws, and other laws related to information privacy in schools, child welfare, and day care settings. Funded by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and under subcontract from NORC at the University of Chicago, the analysis is designed to provide an overview of one of the most complex areas of health law while also offering real-world guidance on broadly aligning health care for children and adolescents with the legal principles that govern the collection and disclosure of health information.

"Access to health information by providers and caregivers across medical and educational settings is critical to ensuring children and adolescents receive coordinated, quality health care," said lead author of the report Jane Hyatt Thorpe, JD, an associate professor of health policy at SPHHS. "While various federal and state laws governing health information are often construed as barriers, this analysis breaks down those barriers and highlights opportunities for effective information sharing across care teams and medical and educational settings."

The report notes that without access to patient health information, tests may be unnecessarily repeated, health care and benefits may be delayed or withheld and care may be fragmented or episodic. In the end, such problems may lead to increased health care costs as well as the risk that children and teens with special needs will not get the care they need, the authors note.

"This analysis, the first of its kind, demonstrates that legal principles governing health information are fully consistent with efforts now underway to achieve greater integration between health care for children and adolescents and other critical services such as education and day care and programs offering community-based services to teens," said co-author Sara Rosenbaum, JD, the Harold and Jane Hirsh Professor of Health Law and Policy at SPHHS. "With this report as a guide, we hope that the nation's most vulnerable children and teens will be able to get the full range of care and coordinated services they need to develop optimally."
-end-
The report and additional resources can be accessed online at Health Information & the Law, a project of the Hirsh Health Law and Policy Program at the SPHHS. The project, which was developed with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, serves as a practical online resource for federal and state laws on health information.

To get a copy of the report or find out more about Health Information & the Law, visit http://www.healthinfolaw.org/article/understanding-interaction-between-epsdt-and-federal-health-information-privacy-and-confide-0.

About the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services:

Established in July 1997, the School of Public Health and Health Services brought together three longstanding university programs in the schools of medicine, business, and education and is now the only school of public health in the nation's capital. Today, more than 1,100 students from nearly every U.S. state and more than 40 nations pursue undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral-level degrees in public health. The school now offers an online Master of Public Health, MPH@GW, which allows students to pursue their degree from anywhere in the world. http://sphhs.gwu.edu/">http://sphhs.gwu.edu/.

George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health

Related Public Health Articles from Brightsurf:

COVID-19 and the decolonization of Indigenous public health
Indigenous self-determination, leadership and knowledge have helped protect Indigenous communities in Canada during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and these principles should be incorporated into public health in future, argue the authors of a commentary in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.200852.

Public health consequences of policing homelessness
In a new study examining homelessness, researchers find that policy such a lifestyle has massive public health implications, making sleeping on the street even MORE unhealthy.

Electronic health information exchange improves public health disease reporting
Disease tracking is an important area of focus for health departments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pandemic likely to cause long-term health problems, Yale School of Public Health finds
The coronavirus pandemic's life-altering effects are likely to result in lasting physical and mental health consequences for many people--particularly those from vulnerable populations--a new study led by the Yale School of Public Health finds.

The Lancet Public Health: US modelling study estimates impact of school closures for COVID-19 on US health-care workforce and associated mortality
US policymakers considering physical distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 face a difficult trade-off between closing schools to reduce transmission and new cases, and potential health-care worker absenteeism due to additional childcare needs that could ultimately increase mortality from COVID-19, according to new modelling research published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

The Lancet Public Health: Access to identification documents reflecting gender identity may improve trans mental health
Results from a survey of over 20,000 American trans adults suggest that having access to identification documents which reflect their identified gender helps to improve their mental health and may reduce suicidal thoughts, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

The Lancet Public Health: Study estimates mental health impact of welfare reform, Universal Credit, in Great Britain
The 2013 Universal Credit welfare reform appears to have led to an increase in the prevalence of psychological distress among unemployed recipients, according to a nationally representative study following more than 52,000 working-age individuals from England, Wales, and Scotland over nine years between 2009-2018, published as part of an issue of The Lancet Public Health journal on income and health.

BU researchers: Pornography is not a 'public health crisis'
Researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) have written an editorial in the American Journal of Public Health special February issue arguing against the claim that pornography is a public health crisis, and explaining why such a claim actually endangers the health of the public.

The Lancet Public Health: Ageism linked to poorer health in older people in England
Ageism may be linked with poorer health in older people in England, according to an observational study of over 7,500 people aged over 50 published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

Study: Public transportation use linked to better public health
Promoting robust public transportation systems may come with a bonus for public health -- lower obesity rates.

Read More: Public Health News and Public Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.