INSIGHTS

Expert Perspective

April 24, 2020

HHS Delays Enforcement of Interoperability Rules

Kathleen Gravelle – Chief Risk Officer, CareAllies

On Tuesday, April 21, 2020, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it would delay enforcement of its final interoperability rules.  As a reminder, the regulations (which you can find within this link) were issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).  Links to the CMS and ONC announcements can be found in this press release. Some key items announced include:  

  • In the final rules, conditions of participation would be effective six months after the final rule was published to the federal register, and that has been extended to a year. 
  • CMS will not enforce its Patient Access API and Provider Directory API policies for Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, and the Children's Health Insurance Program for six months (CMS will not enforce new requirements until July 21, 2021).
  • CMS will not begin enforcing new requirements under the Patient Access API for Qualified Health Plan issuers on the individual market Federally-Facilitated Exchanges until July 21, 2021.
  • Other policies in CMS' final rule will be implemented and enforced on schedule.
  • ONC notes it will exercise discretion in enforcing all new requirements under the final rule that have compliance dates and time frames until three months after each initial compliance date or timeline identified in the final rule.
  • ONC's enforcement discretion will push back the timelines of its information blocking certification, application programming interfaces, and interoperability requirements. The agency's final rule is scheduled to publish May 1 in the Federal Register.

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