CMS issues guidelines to avoid 'information blocking' in MIPS declarations

To prevent "information blocking," or actions that inhibit the exchange of health information, select providers will have to attest to three statements about their use of certified EHR technology, according to CMS guidelines released this month.

All providers eligible for the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act's Merit-based Incentive Payment System and who are reporting on the advancing care information performance category must demonstrate they have acted "in good faith" to exchange electronic health information.

Here are the three statements, collectively referred to as the "Prevention of Information Blocking Attestation," which aim to confirm providers' support of appropriate exchange of EHR information.

1. A MIPS-eligible clinician must attest they did not knowingly and willfully take action (such as to disable functionality) to limit or restrict the compatibility or interoperability of CEHRT.

2. A MIPS-eligible clinician must attest that they implemented technologies, standards, policies, practices and agreements reasonably calculated to ensure, to the greatest extent practicable and permitted by law, that the CEHRT was, at all relevant times:

  • Connected in accordance with applicable law
  • Compliant with all standards applicable to the exchange of information, including the standards, implementation specifications and certification criteria adopted at 45 CFR Part 170
  • Implemented in a manner that allowed for timely access by patients to their electronic health information (including the ability to view, download and transmit this information)
  • Implemented in a manner that allowed for the timely, secure and trusted bidirectional exchange of structured electronic health information with other healthcare providers (as defined by 42 U.S.C. 300jj(3)), including unaffiliated providers, and with disparate CEHRT and health IT vendors

3. A MIPS-eligible clinician must attest that they responded in good faith and in a timely manner to requests to retrieve or exchange electronic health information, including from patients, healthcare providers (as defined by 42 U.S.C. 300jj(3)) and other persons, regardless of the requestor's affiliation or technology vendor.

CMS specified providers will not have to provide any documentation to demonstrate they supported appropriate exchange of EHR information. The goal of the attestation is to ensure providers act in good faith without holding them responsible for outcomes outside of their control, according to CMS.

To access the full guidelines, click here.

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