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Global/ February 2019
February 19, 2019

HIMSS19, CMS, and Information Blocking

With HIMSS19 in the rearview mirror and a new CMS rule introduced, one of the main talking points of HIMSS19 is now in the spotlight. Information Sharing or in the case of the new CMS rule, information blocking. This new rule is called: The Interoperability and Patient Access Proposed Rule.

As the Healthcare IT world converged in Orlando, Florida for HIMSS, CMS released a new rule on Monday, February 11th that is welcomed by patients and patient advocates. The new rule gives the patient more control of his or her electronic health record. If a patient requests their record, and it is not given to them electronically, and for free, CMS now considers this information blocking. The new rule also requires that healthcare providers and plans implement open data sharing technologies to support transitions of care as patients move between physicians and plans. The fine for none compliance? Up to $1 million for lack of interoperability.

Some additional highlights from the 724-page document include:

  • Providers are not to fines, but CMS could impose appropriate disincentives.
  • The ONC included that healthcare IT developers need to publish application programming interfaces (APIs) without special effort.
  • The rule also implements the information blocking provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act.
  • The proposed rule also asks for comments on pricing information that could be included as part of their EHI and would help the public see the prices they are paying for their healthcare.
  • CMS proposes that entities must conform to the same advanced API standards like those proposed for certified health IT in the ONC proposed rule.
  • Must conform to an aligned set of content and vocabulary standards for clinical data classes through the United States Core Data for an Interoperability standard.

Additionally, CMS released two requests for information to obtain feedback on interoperability and health information technology and adoption in the post-acute space and the role of patient matching in interoperability and improved patient care.

CMS will be accepting comments on these major provisions until early April.

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