CMS Issues Clarification around Texting Patient Orders

January 2018 ~

CMS, on December 28th, issued a Survey and Certification Memorandum (S&C Memo) to state survey agencies to clarify and reinforce its position that it prohibits physicians and health care providers from texting orders.

CMS notes in the memo that 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 clarifies that while texting patient orders is still prohibited regardless of the platform, members of the healthcare team are allowed to text patient information through a secure platform.

The Agency “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. 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 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.”

The clarification follows the recent publication of the Report on Medicare Compliance in which it was reported that at least two hospitals received emails from CMS that said texting of any kind is prohibited.



Source(s): CMS Memo; FierceHealthcare; Health Care Compliance Association’s (HCCA) Report on Medicare Compliance(pdf); Health IT News; National Law Review;