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Making sense of the new information blocking rules for healthcare providers

MGMA Stat - June 17, 2021

Electronic Health Records

HIT Regulations

Federal Compliance

Government Programs

Health Information Technology

MGMA Government Affairs


 

Your questions, answered

MGMA Government Affairs recently hosted the Biden Administration’s top health technology official, Micky Tripathi, PhD, MPP, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, for a June 17 webinar, “Information blocking requirements now in effect: Is your practice in compliance?”

Watch the on-demand webinar

Background

Information blocking was included in the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016. The Cures Act defined “information blocking” and authorized the Secretary of the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to identify, through rulemaking by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), “reasonable and necessary activities that do not constitute information blocking” and identified the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) as the office to investigate claims of information blocking.

The Cures Act also prescribed penalties for information blocking, leading ONC to implement a complaint process for reporting potential information blocking actions and confidentiality protections for complaints.

ONC’s final rule implementing the Cures Act included a variety of information blocking requirements for healthcare providers, which went into effect on April 5, 2021. However, compliance questions regarding several provisions of the final rule have lingered since it took effect. MGMA Government Affairs recently released an Information Blocking Toolkit for Medical Groups, summarizing the regulatory provisions of the rule and action steps that organizations can take for compliance.

A June 15 MGMA Stat poll found that 51% of healthcare leaders say they need more government guidance to help comply with these information blocking rules, while 26% responded “unsure.” Only 23% of respondents said “no.” The poll had 633 applicable responses.

Common areas cited by respondents for further guidance included:
  • Defining “timeliness” as it relates to requirements for giving patients access to their records
  • Details and/or use cases on acceptable and non-acceptable standards
  • The extent to which existing patient portals satisfy the patient record access requirements.

Additional resources

  • Information Blocking Toolkit for Medical Groups — This advocacy resource summarizes the regulatory provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act’s information blocking rule and offers action steps for medical groups to take to ensure compliance.
  • MGMA’s Washington Connection — Sign up for MGMA Government Affairs’ weekly email newsletter for the latest regulatory and legislative updates from Washington, D.C.
  • Do you have any best practices or success stories to share on this topic? Please let us know by emailing us at connection@mgma.com.

JOIN MGMA STAT

Our ability at MGMA to provide great resources, education and advocacy depends on a strong feedback loop with healthcare leaders. To be part of this effort, sign up for MGMA Stat and make your voice heard in our weekly polls. Sign up by texting “STAT” to 33550 or visit mgma.com/stat. Polls will be sent to your phone via text message.
 

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MGMA Government Affairs
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