September 26, 2022
The Honorable Xavier Becerra
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC, 20201
Dear Secretary Becerra:
The undersigned organizations represent a broad range of providers and clinicians from across the healthcare continuum. We appreciate the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS’) ongoing efforts to advance health data exchange and interoperability while advancing health equity for all.
Pursuant to provisions contained in the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act) healthcare providers, health IT developers, health information exchanges (HIEs), and health information networks (HINs) are prohibited from engaging in “information blocking” practices. Beginning October 6th these actors must be able to share all electronic protected health information (ePHI) in a designated record set, as defined under the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA). Prior to this data sharing mandates are limited to what is contained in the USCDI.
Our members have been working diligently towards meeting the upcoming – and rapidly approaching – October 6th information blocking deadline with the expanded electronic health information (EHI) definition. They are making every feasible effort, many with scarce resources, to ensure that they are prepared to be in compliance – from both a vendor readiness standpoint, as well as from a comprehension standpoint. The below organizations and their members understand and strongly support patients’ need to access their information in a digital format. Despite our best efforts to educate our members, significant knowledge gaps and confusion still exist within the provider and vendors communities with respect to implementation and enforcement of information blocking regulations.
Based upon feedback from our members that continues to build, it is evident that both healthcare providers, clinicians and vendors are not fully prepared for the October 6th deadline. Therefore, we are respectfully requesting that HHS consider both postponing for a period of one-year the information blocking compliance deadlines – including October 6th, as well using corrective action warning communications to providers/clinicians prior to imposing any monetary disincentives or beginning a formal investigation.
View the detailed letter below.