United States: Federal health agencies aim to prioritize enforcement of information blocking in 2022
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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the leadership of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced at last week’s HIMSS 2022 conference that agencies will focus on enforcing drug blocking. information for the remainder of 2022.
As reported by Fierce HealthXavier Becerra, Secretary of HHS, cited an example of an information blocking complaint in which an actor blocking information (defined as health care providers, health information networks, or information exchanges on health, or certified health informatics developers) delayed responding to a patient record request because a physician was on vacation.
“This is not the kind of customer service we should expect from a 21st century healthcare system – and it’s just one of hundreds of complaints we’ve received so far,” a- he declared. “In other words, closing this enforcement gap is a priority for HHS. We’re working hard on this and will have more to share with you later this year.”
CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure also weighed in on the enforcement at the HIMSS 2022 conference, adding that CMS will work with HHS and other agencies to ensure compliance with the final information blocking rule.
“As the largest payer in the world and the nation’s largest provider regulator, CMS has a significant stake in these sanctions, and we are actively working with our partner agencies across HHS to ensure that we close this gap,” she said. “We are so grateful [for] support from Secretary Becerra’s office to help us solve this problem for people around the world. »
Developing “appropriate deterrents” for health care providers
Micky Tripathi, the national health information technology coordinator at HHS, also shared his thoughts on the application of information blocking at the recent ViVE conference in a podcast with MM+M. Dr. Tripathi reminded listeners that the Secretary of HHS would be authorized under the proposed rule to amend the Civil Monetary Penalty Act (CMP Act) regulations to impose penalties of up to $1 million. dollars per breach for health information networks, health information exchanges and health informatics. certified health informatics developers. However, the proposed rule did not include penalties for healthcare providers and instead stated that healthcare providers who engage in information blocking may be subject to “appropriate deterrents”, as directed by the HHS Secretary.
“We are currently going through the process to define the appropriate deterrents…and we will go through the development of normal rules as required by law…we are working very hard to close this part of the enforcement gap. … it’s [currently]unfair to other players who have penalties associated with their
[violations of the information blocking rules].”
The federal agency‘s comments follow the recent report on trends in information blocking requests from the Office of the National Health Information Technology Coordinator (ONC). Information blocking actors are now advised that HHS, CMS, and ONC are actively monitoring information blocking requests and are working to develop a final rule to apply penalties for rule violations.
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