CHA News Article

CMS Clarifies That Texting Through Secure Platforms Is Permissible
Physician orders may not be transmitted by text

In a Dec. 28, 2017, memo to state survey agency directors, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) clarified that texting patient information is permissible if a secure texting platform is used. However, texting physician or other practitioner orders is not allowed. The CMS memo reminds hospitals to comply with health information privacy laws as well as documentation and record retention requirements, emphasizing the need to:

  • Use secure, encrypted systems and platforms to minimize the risk of exposing patient information.
  • Implement policies and procedures to routinely assess the security and integrity of the texting systems and platforms.

The memo cites CMS record retention requirements. However, California providers and Medicaid providers must comply with longer record retention periods. CHA’s annual Hospital Compliance Seminar, to be held Feb. 6 in Pasadena and Feb. 21 in Sacramento, will cover this and other timely topics related to changes in state and federal law.