In an article published by Law360 on October 22, 2021, Mike Ruggio explores the landscape surrounding blockchain, cryptocurrency and other digital asset technology, and how it may influence American health care.
"At present, there are no concrete or direct U.S. laws that encompass the commercial use of blockchain technology, especially in the health care space," said Ruggio. However, exchanges that utilize blockchain were included in the infrastructure bill passed by the U.S. Senate in August, and the new bill requires tax filings for digital asset exchanges.
Crypto advocates have expressed concerns over the Senate's refusal to amend the bill's definition of "broker" believing that competition may be pushed overseas, stifling U.S. participation in the industry.
While there has been little to no formal federal rulemaking on blockchain technology, on the state level some jurisdictions have passed favorable regulations exempting cryptocurrencies from state securities laws or money transmission statutes to spur innovation of the industry.
So, what would blockchain look like in health care in the U.S.?
Instead of envisioning the traditional American payer model, imagine that this insurer's provider network was part of a single blockchain ledger.
"All entities participating in this network would have access to information on the chain, which could include certain information stored in a patient's electronic health record," explained Ruggio. "Therefore, provided the appropriate contractual umbrella is in place and all applicable laws are followed, the sharing of information from provider to provider and provider to payer would be at peak efficiency," he added.
While there is not much regulatory guidance on blockchain in the U.S. right now, that is likely to change. "It is only a matter of time before blockchain becomes the new norm of health care revenue cycles, data management and beyond," says Ruggio.
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