HHS Delays Dates for Compliance Citing Information-Blocking Rules, Officially

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) of the HHS published its interim concluding rule procrastinating compliance dates crucial to meet the information-blocking as well as health IT regulations till 2021, announced the federal agency.

This move extends provisions for information blocking as well as compliance deadlines until April 5. In addition, deadlines for the edition of 2015 updates on health IT certification and novel standardization application-programming interfaces would now be enforced in 2022, on Dec 31.

Don Rucker, MD, National Coordinator for Health IT, said that his office decided to permit hospitals and other provider groups with greater flexibility as well as time to reply to this ongoing crisis brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Rucker released a statement on October 29, 2020, that reads, “We have come to know that while strong support exists for advancing access to patients as well as clinician coordination through the provisions in final rules, stakeholders should also manage the basic needs experienced during this ongoing pandemic. To make things clear, ONC has decided not to remove the requirements advancing access to patients to their information related to health as outlined in the Cures Act Final Rule. Instead, we are ready to provide any additional time that allows everyone in this healthcare ecosystem to concentrate on Covid-19 response.”

HHS together with the ONC finalized the rules of interoperability in March 2020, circling November to be the earliest date possible for enforcement. However, in April, the Trump administrator further pushed back the enforcing penalties, quoting some concerns for the healthcare systems fighting Covid-19.

The American College of Radiology is one of the provider groups, which is also lobbying for the HHS to push back its deadlines. It even reached out to the HHS after fielding several questions, similar to the ones before, from several imaging providers related to access of radiology reports under the new rules of information blocking.

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