The Information Blocking Final Rule, a provision of the 21st Century Cures Act geared towards ensuring access, exchange and use of electronic health information (EHI), was published on May 1, 2020, and became effective on June 20, 2020. However, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) extended the compliance effective dates for the Final Rule several times over the last year—and most providers were hopeful that it would be extended once again—but there are no more delays. Information Blocking compliance is now effective, as of April 5, 2021. Health care providers should take immediate steps to ensure compliance.Continue reading
by Margaret Young Levi and Kathie McDonald-McClure
Post-Note: On April 30, 2021, the requirements for hospitals with certain EHR capabilities to send admission, discharge and transfer notifications to other providers went into effect. See CMS webpage, “Policies and Technology for Interoperability and Burden Reduction“.
Last year, we wrote about the CMS Proposed Rule on Hospital EHR “Electronic Patient Event Notifications” in which CMS proposed new Medicare Conditions of Participation (CoPs) for hospitals that will require the hospital to send electronic event notifications to primary care or post-acute care providers identified by the patient when a patient has been admitted, discharged, or transferred (ADT Notifications). ADT Notifications are an outgrowth of the 21st Century CURES Act passed by a bi-partisan majority of Congress and signed into law on December 13, 2016 (CURES Act). The CURES Act contains aggressive goals to promote the interoperability of electronic health records and patient access to their health information.
The objective of ADT Notifications is to improve care coordination and patient outcomes. These ADT Notifications are to be integrated into either the hospital’s interoperable certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT) or other electronic administrative system such as a registration system. An ADT Notification will be required when the patient is:
- registered in the Emergency Department (ED) or as an observational stay;
- admitted to the hospital (regardless if the patient was admitted from the ED, from an observation stay, or as a direct admission from home, from their practitioner’s office, or as a transfer from some other facility);
- transferred from the ED or inpatient care; or
- discharged from the ED, observational stay or inpatient services unit.
Summary: CMS proposes new Medicare Conditions of Participation (CoPs) for hospitals that will require the hospital EHR to send electronic event notifications to post-acute care providers when a patient has been admitted, discharged, or transferred. What must hospitals do, and how much time is needed, to operationalize the new CoPs, considering a process will need to be developed that identifies providers who should and can receive these event notices? What will be required, and how much time is needed, to reconfigure EHRs to send the notifications and demonstrate compliance with the multiple facets of the CoP? Will PAC providers be obligated to operationalize the receipt and use of these notifications under the IMPACT Act? CMS is seeking stakeholder input on its proposal, including a reasonable time frame for implementation. Comments are due June 3, 2019.* Continue reading