The Department of Health and Human Services June 24 released a final rule that would disincentivize health care providers for interfering with the access, exchange or use of electronic health information. AHA previously expressed concern when the rule was proposed, saying it could threaten the financial viability of economically fragile hospitals.

In the final rule, hospitals under the Medicare Promoting Interoperability Program found to have committed information blocking would experience a reduction of the market basket update by 75%. Critical access hospitals would see a reduction from 101% to 100% of reasonable costs, while clinicians in Medicare's Merit-based Incentive Payment System would receive a score of zero in the MIPS Promoting Interoperability performance category. Providers in accountable care organizations that commit information blocking would be ineligible to participate in the Medicare Shared Savings program for at least one year and may not receive revenue they may have earned through the program. 

AHA is disappointed that HHS chose to disregard most of the comments they received and is highly concerned that the disincentive structure retained in the final rule is excessive, confusing and imbalanced.

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