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| 1 minute read

HHS Final Rule on Information Blocking Includes Penalties

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has finalized a rule implementing penalties for healthcare providers who engage in "information blocking" practices, as mandated by the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016. This critical update could impact a healthcare organization’s ability to participate in key incentive programs and maintain optimal reimbursement rates.

What Is Information Blocking?

Information blocking refers to any practice that knowingly and unreasonably interferes with the secure exchange of electronic health information (EHI) between authorized users. This can include actions such as:

  • Imposing excessive fees for data access or exchange
  • Employing technical barriers that hinder seamless data transfer
  • Using restrictive licensing agreements that limit data sharing

What Are the Penalties?

Hospitals and physician practices found to be in violation of the information blocking rule risk losing their "meaningful use" status and payment incentives. For hospitals, this will be for one year and for physician practices, this could lead to lower reimbursement rates.

Next Steps

The final rule takes effect 30 days after its publication in the Federal Register. Here are some steps you can take to ensure compliance:

  • Review and update internal policies: Ensure your organization has clear guidelines prohibiting information blocking practices.
  • Educate staff: Educate all personnel involved in data exchange processes on the information blocking rule and its implications.
  • Evaluate technology: Assess your current EHR system and data sharing protocols to identify and address any potential technical barriers.

For further details and resources on information blocking regulations, we recommend consulting the official HHS website.

Healthcare providers that prevent authorized users from accessing electronic health records data face new consequences under a final rule the Health and Human Services Department published Monday.


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