ONC Lengthens Due date for Information Blocking and Interoperability Rule Compliance

The due date for compliance with the required information blocking and health IT certification of the 21st Century Cures Act was prolonged as a result of the current coronavirus pandemic.

The US Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) published on October 29, 2020 the launch of an interim final rule with the time period for giving comments lengthened the compliance dates and time periods for getting particular information blocking and Conditions and Maintenance of Certification (CoC/MoC) standards.

The ONC’s Cures Act Final Rule unveiled on March 9, 2020 outlined exclusions to the information blocking condition of the 21st Century Cures Act and implemented new Health IT certification prerequisites which, via using application programming interfaces (APIs), would boost patients’ access to their own health information through their smartphones for nothing.

Compliance due dates were slated for 2020, however health IT stakeholders showed concern with regards to hitting the deadlines as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 21, 2020, ONC announced that it will perform enforcement discretion for the compliance due dates and gave an added 3 months after the initial compliance dates for fulfilling all of the new specifications of the ONC Health IT Certification Program.

As a result of the continuing COVID-19 crisis, ONC now gave the healthcare ecosystem added versatility and time to react to the COVID-19 public health emergency and has even lengthened the compliance deadlines stated in its April 2020 enforcement discretion announcement.

Although there is good support for progressing patient access and physician coordination via the conditions in the final rule, stakeholders still ought to handle the needs being encountered while in the present pandemic, that is according to the national coordinator for health IT Dr. Don Rucker. ONC isn’t taking away the requirements to improve patient access to their health data that are specified in the Cures Act Final Rule. Instead, ONC is offering extra time to permit everybody in the health care ecosystem to concentrate on the COVID-19 response.

The new compliance due dates are stated below:

April 5, 2021

  • Information blocking provisions (45 CFR Part 171)
  • Information Blocking CoC/MoC requirements (§ 170.401)
  • Communications CoC/MoC requirements (§ 170.403) (excluding § 170.403(b)(1) – where the 2020 notice requirement was removed
  • Assurances CoC/MoC requirements (§ 170.402, except for § 170.402(b)(2) as it relates to § 170.315(b)(10))
    API CoC/MoC requirement (§ 170.404(b)(4)) – compliance for the present API criteria

December 31, 2022

  • 2015 Edition health IT certification criteria updates (excluding § 170.315(b)(10) – EHI export, which is set up to December 31, 2023)
  • New standardized API functionality (§ 170.315(g)(10))

The deadline for submitting preliminary attestations (§ 170.406) as well as the initial plans and results of real world evaluation (§ 170.405(b)(1) and (2)) was prolonged by one calendar year.