HHS' 7-figure penalties spark concerns from healthcare groups

The HHS wants to hit hospitals with penalties if they don't share data with patients, but groups representing hospitals and providers say these penalties, which could reach up to seven figures, are too steep, Politico reported June 9. 

In October, the HHS proposed rules establishing disincentives on healthcare organizations if they are found to have committed information blocking. For example, the rules would penalize participants and providers in an accountable care organization by excluding them from an ACO for at least one year if they are found to have interfered with health record information sharing.

Several groups have reacted to the news, stating that the penalties are unreasonable and would create burden and suppress the flow of patient data. 

The American Hospital Association called the penalties excessive; the Federation of American Hospitals stated they wanted educational disincentives; the American Medical Association said the penalties could deter participation in Medicare value-based care; and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society said the incentives could dissuade organizations from participating in incentive programs.  

The HHS began seeking comments on the proposal starting Nov. 1 for a 60-day period. According to Politico, the deadline has since passed. 

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