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
Congress amended the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) on January 5, 2021. This Amendment requires the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to favorably consider whether covered entities and business associates have implemented specific security measures when making decisions regarding penalties and audits under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Specifically, the Amendment mandates HHS to “consider whether the covered entity or business associate has adequately demonstrated that it had, for not less than the previous 12 months, recognized security practices in place” when HHS is making decisions to (1) decrease fines, (2) decrease the length and extent of an audit or terminate an audit, and (3) mitigate other remedies with respect to resolving potential violations of the HIPAA Security Rule.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.