[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 6 (Monday, January 11, 2010)]
[Pages 1446-1447]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-225]



[Docket No. SSA-2009-0088]

Rate of Payment for Medical Records Received Through Health 
Information Technology (IT) Necessary To Make Disability Determinations

AGENCY: Social Security Administration.

ACTION: Notice of a uniform national rate of Federal payment for 
medical records received through health IT.


SUMMARY: We have set $15 as the reasonable reimbursement to non-Federal 
medical providers for their costs in supplying medical records through 
health IT in response to a request. We will pay the uniform national 
rate to a medical provider that satisfies a medical records request 
through health IT. We are establishing this uniform national rate under 
our authority in sections 205(a), 223(d)(5)(A) and 1631(e) of the 
Social Security Act (Act).

DATES: We are establishing the reasonable rate for medical records 
received through health IT in response to our requests on or after the 
date of publication of this notice. We will periodically review this 
rate and publish updates in the Federal Register.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cheryl Elksnis, Office of Disability 
Programs, Social Security Administration, 6401 Security Boulevard, 
Baltimore, MD 21235-6401, 410-966-0497, for information about this 
notice. For information on eligibility or filing for benefits, call our 
national toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 or TTY 1-800-325-0778, or 
visit our Internet site, Social Security Online, at http://www.socialsecurity.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We are experiencing a significant increase 
in the number of initial claims for disability insurance benefits and 
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments on the basis of disability, 
and we expect this trend to continue. The increasing volume of claims, 
coupled with the backlog of disability cases in the hearings process, 
underscores our need to process cases more efficiently by using 
advanced technologies.
    Applicants for disability insurance benefits and SSI payments on 
the basis of disability must provide medical evidence to support their 
claims for benefits. We assist these applicants in obtaining medical 
records. We use these medical records to make disability determinations 
for more than 2.6 million people who apply each year for benefits. We 
rely on medical providers such as doctors, hospitals, clinics, and 
others in the healthcare field to respond to our requests for medical 
records in a timely manner.
    We are now in a position to use health IT to transform the 
disability process. Health IT is an electronic system that provides for 
a secure exchange of data between health care consumers and providers. 
We intend to use health IT in developing medical evidence and 
requesting, receiving, and managing medical information. By using 
health IT, we will be able to request and receive medical information 
within minutes, rather than the days or months it may take to receive 
medical evidence by traditional methods. With the advent of health IT, 
we will be able to replace a largely paper-based, labor intensive, 
manual process with system-to-system data exchange transactions.
    We have set $15 as the reasonable reimbursement to non-Federal 
medical providers for their costs in supplying medical records through 
health IT in response to a request. The $15 rate is based on our 
average payment for medical records obtained through non-health IT 
processes. As increasing numbers of medical providers

[[Page 1447]]

incorporate health IT and the market for health IT records exchanges 
develops, we anticipate that we will develop more detailed information 
about the reasonable costs for obtaining medical records through health 
IT. Consequently, we will periodically review the uniform national rate 
for reimbursing all non-federal medical providers for the reasonable 
costs of supplying health IT medical records.
    When we revise the uniform national rate, we will publish another 
notice in the Federal Register.

    Dated: January 4, 2010.
Michael J. Astrue,
Commissioner of Social Security.
[FR Doc. 2010-225 Filed 1-8-10; 8:45 am]