The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has published previously released final rules — one from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the other from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) — intended to improve the interoperability of health information and define regulations to prevent information blocking. Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, certain provider compliance and enforcement deadlines have been updated since the regulations were first released on March 9.
Specifically, CMS has extended the compliance date for a new Medicare and Medicaid condition of participation requiring admission, discharge, and transfer notifications to May 1, 2021. Previously, CMS announced implementation would be required six months after publication of the final rule. CMS maintains a compliance date of Jan. 1, 2021, for requirements that certain health plans implement access to patient information via application programming interfaces. However, the agency will exercise enforcement discretion on the provisions until July 1, 2021.
CMS has created an Interoperability and Patient Access final rule web page that lists the final rule’s various effective dates and includes links to additional implementation guidance and resources. A detailed summary of the final rule — prepared by Health Policy Alternatives (HPA) — is available for CHA members here.
The ONC final rule maintains previously announced effective dates of its final rule. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ONC will not enforce certain compliance dates and timelines for three months after they take effect. Compliance with the information blocking provisions will be required Nov. 2, 2020. ONC has prepared a table of the final compliance and enforcement deadlines. An HPA summary of the final rule is available for CHA members here, and additional information is available on ONC’s 21st Century Cures Act web page.
In addition, CHA has made available an HPA summary of the HHS Office of Inspector General proposed rule to incorporate new authorities for civil monetary penalties for information blocking by health IT developers, health information exchanges, and health information networks. Enforcement for providers under the information blocking regulations is deferred to future rulemaking. Comments on the proposed rule are due June 23.