The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) recently proposed two (2) new rules that are intended to enhance seamless and secure access, exchange, and use of electronic health information. The proposed rules—issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (“ONC”)—are both designed to increase access to health information and improve interoperability.
At a high-level, the proposed rules generally address the following:
- Patient Access Through Application Programming Interfaces (“APIs”): Healthcare providers would be required to implement APIs (from third-party developers) to enable patients to freely access their protected health information.
- Access to Healthcare Information When Patients Change Health Plans: Payers would be required to enable patients to access their healthcare information when they change plans.
- Access to Provider Directories: Health plans would be required to publish their provider networks to enrollees and prospective enrollees via API technology.
- Coordinating Care Through Trusted Exchange Networks: Health information exchanges would be used to privately and securely share health information.
- Public Identification Information Blocking: Clinicians, hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals that participate in information blocking efforts (by preventing the flow of health information) will be identified in a public forum to motivate clinicians, hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals to discontinue such actions and enable the flow of health information.
CMS Proposed Rule: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/cms-advances-interoperability-patient-access-health-data-through-new-proposals
ONC Proposed Rule: https://healthit.gov/nprm
Industry stakeholders interested in submitting comments are encouraged to do so in connection with the proposed rules and future regulatory action.
Aaron J. Beresh, Esq. is an attorney with The Health Law Partners, P.C., and represents healthcare providers and practices in almost all areas of healthcare law with a particular focus on corporate/transactional matters, regulatory, and privacy/security matters. Aaron can be reached at (248) 939-0463.
This blog post is for general informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.