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
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) proposed Meaningful Use criteria to implement Stage 3 and allow eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals (“CAHs”) to qualify for incentive payments (or avoid downward payment adjustments) under the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program implemented by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (“HITECH”) Act of 2009. Then CMS made changes to Stage 1 and Stage 2 Meaningful Use criteria to better align with the proposed Stage 3 criteria just two weeks later.
On March 30, 2015, CMS published a long-awaited proposed rule which, if finalized, would implement Stage 3, making changes to the objectives and measures of meaningful use for providers effective in Continue reading
On May 22, 2013, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the United States Health & Human Services Department, announced that over 50 percent of doctors and over 80 percent of hospitals are making a “meaningful use” of electronic health records (EHRs) and have received incentives for such use. By comparison, in 2008, just nine percent had adopted EHRs. Secretary Sebelius credits the “dramatic increase” in adoption of EHRs to the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) that was passed as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The HITECH Act awards incentives to eligible professionals (physicians) and hospitals who make a “meaningful use” of EHR technology that has been certified by the HHS Office of National Coordinator of Health Information Technology (ONC). The HHS press release with further information is available here.
By Ann F. Triebsch and Kathie McDonald-McClure
Barely two weeks after Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash) sent a letter to the HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) requesting that the Anti-Kickback Statute’s “safe harbor” allowing hospitals to donate electronic health record (EHR) items and services to physicians be extended, the OIG has proposed a rule to do exactly that. On April 10, 2013, the OIG proposed a rule to extend the Anti-Kickback Statute safe harbor from December 31, 2013, to December 31, 2016. On the same date, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a complementary rule to extend the Stark Law’s similar EHR exception to December 31, 2016.
On Thursday, October 4, 2012, in a letter to Secretary Sebelius of the United States Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), the United States House GOP called on HHS to suspend incentive payments for the adoption and implementation of electronic health records (EHRs) otherwise authorized under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH Act). The GOP also asked HHS to delay the imposition of penalties on providers who choose not to use EHRs in their practice (such penalties that pursuant to the HITECH Act provisions are to take the form of reductions in Medicare reimbursements in 2015). Continue reading