Consent Policy Change Approved by Green Mountain Care Board

Administration of patient consent for viewing data in the Vermont Health Information Exchange (VHIE) will become easier, under a policy change approved March 13th by the Green Mountain Care Board.

GMCB members unanimously approved a revised state policy recommended by VITL and supported by the state's secretary of administration. The change was initially requested by a trio of organizations representing Vermont healthcare providers: the Vermont Medical Society; Fletcher Allen Health Care; and the Vermont Assembly of Home Health and Hospice Agencies.

Previously, each provider organization was required to obtain its own separate patient consent to view data in the VHIE through the VITLAccess provider portal. Under the revised policy, an individual's consent for provider access will be "global." That means once a patient signs the consent form, it will be applicable to any provider treating the patient who is participating in the VHIE. This will reduce the number of intake forms that a patient will be required to complete and ensure a patient's health information is available to all providers engaged in their treatment.

"The revised policy eliminates the need for each healthcare organization to obtain and maintain its own patient consent to view data in the VHIE," said VITL President and CEO John K. Evans. "This reduces patient confusion, eases the administrative aspects of consent, and clears the way for greater sharing of patient data, which will result in improved coordination of care and better outcomes."

The policy revisions approved by the GMCB apply to both the VHIE and the Vermont Blueprint for Health registry. As part of implementing the new policy, VITL will work with Vermont Legal Aid's Office of Health Care Advocate to ensure that the readability of consent forms and educational material is at the sixth-grade level. VITL supports the goal of making the information understandable to all persons, and will solicit input from interested parties in reviewing proposed forms and materials. Patient literature will be made available in at least three languages.