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Healthcare Coalition Asks HHS for More Support as Information Blocking Rules Loom

Analysis  |  By Scott Mace  
   August 25, 2022

HHS has been criticized for inadequate help with complex regulations that will take effect in October

Some household names in healthcare are asking the Department of Health and Human Services to be more specific in its rules to cut down on information blocking practices.

The Information Blocking Regulations are scheduled to take effect on October 6.

The Mayo Clinic, Ascension, and AdventHealth have joined organizations such as the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) in expressing their concerns in an August 18 letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra.

"Significant knowledge gaps still exist within the provider community with respect to implementation and enforcement of Information Blocking Regulations," the letter states. "Many independent, small, rural and solo medical practices are still unaware or underinformed about information blocking requirements. This likely plays a major role in allegations that providers are blocking access to patient data."

The coalition has asked for more emphasis on education and less on enforcement in the requested guidance.

Among the specific actions sought in the letter:

  • Define foundational concepts in information sharing, such as good practices, better definition of requests for information sharing, and ways for information sharers to demonstrate good intent.
  • Create a frequently asked questions document including use cases and scenarios to supplement the current information blocking rule guidance.
  • Provide deeper technical assistance to support efforts to comply with information blocking regulations.

The letter also urged HHS to open more channels of communication, including a toll-free support line or interactive live chat "in the spirit of the resources HHS provided for HIPAA implementation in the 1990s and early 2000s" to assist providers.

Other signatories include the Healthcare Leadership Council, Marshfield Clinic Health System, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Medical Informatics Association, Consortium for State and Regional Interoperability, Epic, and the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

Scott Mace is a contributing writer for HealthLeaders.

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