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ONC Extends Information Blocking Rule Compliance Dates

In a new interim final rule, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has delayed the effective date of provisions of its May 1 information blocking final rule.

The May 1 final rule implemented parts of the 21st Century Cures Act related to advancing interoperability; supporting the access, exchange, and use of electronic health information; and addressing information blocking. Of particular relevance to providers, the final rule detailed the types of actors subject to information blocking requirements and eight reasonable and necessary exceptions to information blocking.

Citing the need for providers to focus on their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, HHS said it is allowing more time for providers and health IT developers to comply with the provisions of the May 1 final rule. Some of these provisions were set to take effect Nov. 2, six months after the final rule’s publication.

Most imminently, health care providers would have been required to comply with information blocking provisions beginning Nov. 2, 2020. With the new interim final rule, health care providers will have until April 5, 2021, to begin complying with the information blocking exceptions.

The IFC also delays conditions of certification related to health IT developers. HHS included a table in the IFC summarizing the new implementation dates of the provisions of the information blocking final rule. The rule has a 60-day comment period, with comments due Jan. 4.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Shahid Zaman is a senior policy analyst at America's Essential Hospitals.

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