HHS extends interoperability rule deadlines: 10 key compliance dates  

The HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT on Oct. 29 released a new timeline of compliance dates for certain requirements related to its information-blocking rules. 

HHS on March 9 finalized two interoperability rules issued by ONC and CMS to support the MyHealthEData Initiative and 21st Century Cures Act. Enforcement of  the rules was delayed in April to allow providers more time to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic response. 

ONC's final rule targets necessary activities that do not constitute information-blocking and establishes new regulations to prevent information-blocking practices by providers, health IT developers, health information exchanges and health information networks. The rule also aims to give patients more  access to their health information via smartphone apps of their choice. 

“We are hearing that while there is strong support for advancing patient access and clinician coordination through the provisions in the final rule, stakeholders also must manage the needs being experienced during the current pandemic,” ONC National Coordinator for Health IT Don Rucker, MD, said in the news release. "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 healthcare ecosystem to focus on COVID-19 response.”

The new interim final rule, issued Oct. 29, extends the program compliance dates beyond the April extension and also establishes new future applicability dates for information-blocking provisions. 

Here are 10 key dates for the new compliance timeline and their corresponding provisions: 

1. April 5, 2021: Information-blocking provisions 

2. April 5, 2021: Information-blocking CoC/MoC requirements 

3. April 5, 2021: Assurances CoC/MoC requirements 

4. April 5, 2021: API CoC/MoC requirement 

5. April 5, 2021: Communications CoC/MoC requirements 

6. Dec. 31, 2022: 2015 edition health IT certification criteria updates 

7. Dec. 31, 2022: New standard API functionality 

8. Dec. 31, 2023: Electronic health information export 

9. One calendar year extension: Submission of initial attestations 

10. One calendar year extension: Submission of initial plans and results of real world testing 

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