HHS Extends Compliance Dates for Information Blocking Requirements

HHS Extends Compliance Dates for Information Blocking Requirements

21st Century Cures Act Final Rule deadlines delayed due to pandemic

HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology announced this week that they would extend deadlines for their information-blocking rule as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to put pressure on healthcare organizations around the country.

On Thursday, the agency issued a statement detailing the interim final rule which would delay compliance dates until 2021 for information-blocking provisions and health IT certification requirements.

“To be clear, ONC is not removing the requirements advancing patient access to their health information that are outlined in the Cures Act Final Rule,” said Don Rucker, MD, national coordinator for health IT. “Rather, we are providing additional time to allow everyone in the health care ecosystem to focus on COVID-19 response.”

With providers reprioritizing their IT efforts, this move will give healthcare organizations time to comply with the new rule as they simultaneously respond to the pandemic.

In the statement the agency said the move would “[extend] the Program compliance dates beyond those identified in the April 21, 2020, enforcement discretion announcement and [establish] new future applicability dates for information blocking provisions. The interim final rule also adopts updated standards and makes technical corrections and clarifications to the ONC Cures Act Final Rule.”

We have provided links below to the ONC interim final rule that was released earlier in the week, as well as a date grid highlighting important milestones in the rule.

New Applicability and Compliance Dates/Timeframes & Corresponding Provisions

April 5, 2021

  • Information blocking provisions (45 CFR Part 171) 
  • Information Blocking CoC/MoC requirements (§ 170.401)
  • 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 current API criteria 
  • Communications CoC/MoC requirements (§ 170.403) (except for § 170.403(b)(1) – where we removed the notice requirement for 2020)

December 31, 2022

  • 2015 Edition health IT certification criteria updates (except for § 170.315(b)(10) – EHI export, which is extended until December 31, 2023)
  • New standardized API functionality (§ 170.315(g)(10))

One Calendar Year Extension

  • Submission of initial attestations (§ 170.406)
  • Submission of initial plans and results of real-world testing (§ 170.405(b)(1) and (2))

Announcement: https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2020/10/29/hhs-extends-compliance-dates-information-blocking-health-it-certification-requirements-21st-century-cures-act-final-rule.html

Fact Sheet: https://www.healthit.gov/cures/sites/default/files/cures/2020-10/IFC_FactSheet_Certification.pdf

Fact Sheet: https://www.healthit.gov/cures/sites/default/files/cures/2020-10/IFC_FactSheet_Information_Blocking.pdf

FAQs: https://www.healthit.gov/curesrule/resources/information-blocking-faqs