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PHIMA Legal e-Alert

November 6, 2020

Inside this Issue:


21st Century Cures Act Final Rule - HHS Extends Compliance Dates for Information Blocking and Health IT Certification Requirements

On October 29, 2020, just days before the original compliance date of Monday, November 2nd, the Office of National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) extended the compliance dates for the agency’s final rule to April 5, 2021 and December 31, 2022. 

National Coordinator Don Rucker, MD, said the extension is in response to needs of stakeholders to focus on COVID-19 public health emergency needs. Providers and vendors are getting an additional five months to comply with new regulations aimed at improving data sharing.

“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. Rather, we are providing additional time to allow everyone in the health care ecosystem to focus on COVID-19 response,” stated Dr. Rucker.

AHIMA issued a statement supporting the delayed compliance deadlines. AHIMA Chief Executive Officer, Wylecia Wiggs Harris, stated that “the reallocation of resources due to the COVID-19 pandemic has made it challenging for many health information professionals to ensure their institutions are sufficiently in compliance by November 2nd.”

ONC’s Cures Act Final Rule was released to the public on March 9, 2020 and established exceptions to the 21st Century Cures Act’s information blocking provision and adopted new health information technology (health IT) certification requirements to enhance patients’ smartphone access to their health information at no cost through the use of application programming interfaces (APIs).

To recap, ONC is not removing the new requirements but, rather, providing a second extension to the compliance timeline. Please review the attached presentation which further outline requirements, timetable, and references for this important and significant rule.
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