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Analysis

AMA Wants More Time to Vet Interoperability, Information Blocking Proposals

By John Commins  
   March 11, 2019

The nation's largest physicians' association warns that the proposed rules 'may lead to unintended consequences for patient privacy and physician burden.'

The American Medical Association is asking federal policy makers for an additional 30 days or more to review and comment on two proposed federal rules that address interoperability and information blocking.

The policy, published and detailed this month in the federal registry, comes from a mandate in the 21st Century Cures Act and Executive Order 13813 "to improve access to, and the quality of, information that Americans need to make informed health," the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services summarized.

The new policy "would improve access to data about healthcare prices and outcomes, while minimizing reporting burdens on affected plans, health care providers, or payers," CMS said.

While supporting the policy, AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James Madara, MD, asked CMS to push back by one month the May 3 deadline for stakeholder input.

"Expediency should not take precedence over deliberation as we confront a true paradigm shift in healthcare. I therefore urge that the comment periods for both rules be extended by at least 30 days," Madara said in a one-page letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma, and Donald Rucker, national coordinator for health information technology.

Madara did not raise specific concerns about the lengthy proposed rules, but noted that they are "interwoven, complex in nature, and include multiple detailed requests for information."

"To ensure that the rules are as successful as possible in meeting your goals, it is vital that stakeholders be given adequate time to provide comprehensive, thoughtful, and detailed comments," he said.

"I recognize and appreciate the desire for swift rulemaking. However, such rapid change in healthcare policy, technology, and business practices may lead to unintended consequences for patient privacy and physician burden."

“Expediency should not take precedence over deliberation as we confront a true paradigm shift in healthcare.”

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders.

Photo credit: chrisdorney / Shutterstock.com


KEY TAKEAWAYS

The proposed rules comes from the 21st Century Cures Act's mandate "to improve access to, and the quality of, information that Americans need to make informed health."

The AMA is asking federal policy makers to push the May 3 deadline for comments back by at least one month.

The AMA did not raise specific concerns about the proposed rules, but noted that they are "interwoven, complex in nature, and include multiple detailed requests for information."

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