HHS Holds Off Enforcement of New Interoperability and Data Sharing Regulations

The HHS is going to enforce discretion when it comes to compliance with the latest interoperability and data sharing regulations that the HHS’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) released on March 9, 2020.

The final decision to hold off enforcement is because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The ONC, CMS, and HHS’ Office of Inspector General (OIG) are convinced that at this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare providers should be allowed some versatility in complying with the latest interoperability and data sharing regulations.

There is no change with the dates for complying with the new regulations, though the two agencies are going to exercise enforcement discretion so that healthcare providers can concentrate their efforts on handling the COVID-19 outbreak.

ONC stays dedicated to making sure that patients and healthcare providers can gain access to electronic health information, whenever and wherever it is needed. During this crucial time, resources should be centered on combating the COVID-19 pandemic. To help in the crucial work during this time along with the data sharing initiatives, ONC plans to use enforcement discretion for three months at the conclusion of a number of ONC Health IT Certification Program compliance dates related to the ONC Cures Act Final Rule to give flexibility whilst making sure the objectives of the rule stay on target.

Read the details of the compliance dates and the timetable for ONC’s enforcement discretion on this page.

The CMS is offering healthcare providers 6 months more to comply with its regulation. Patients need to have safe access to their medical information now unlike any other time before. Hospitals ought to do everything that they can to make sure that patients get proper follow-up care. However, with a pandemic this big, it is very important for a healthcare system under attack by COVID-19 to have flexibility. The enforcement discretion will give hospitals 6 months more to follow the new prerequisites.

The ONC, CMS, and OIG will keep on monitoring the implementation scenario to find out if other actions are needed.