May 14, 2021
CMS and ONC issue new FAQs on Information Blocking and Interoperability Regulations
On May 10, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released several FAQs
to assist anesthesiologists, hospitals, and others on several information blocking and interoperability regulations. Given the complexities involved with implementing these new regulations, anesthesiologists may have been left wondering about how their groups/practice can best comply with the new and emerging standards set forth by CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health (ONC). Anesthesiologists and their groups are likely aware of patients having been granted expanded access to their health records under the new information blocking regulations found in the 21st Century Cures Act Final Rule
. These FAQs are meant to help anesthesiologists and other stakeholders understand their responsibilities.
Likewise, ONC has posted a series of FAQs
to assist in answering specific questions regarding the applicability of the information blocking regulations on health care providers. ONC has identified activities that are valid reasons to restrict information access and has set forth standards that qualify for an exemption. Anesthesiologists and their groups should engage their local counsel and/or hospital legal and compliance departments as well as any medical staff leadership and medical informatics officers on their responsibility to comply with the rule during the regulatory rollout.
Additionally, the CMS Interoperability and Patient Access Final Rule
requires anesthesiologists to report their digital contact information through the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NEPPS)
. At this time, CMS is not establishing a penalty for providers who fail to report their digital contact information, however, CMS may report publicly the names and National Provider Identifier (NPIs) of providers who are noncompliant in the future. Anesthesiologists should check with their groups/hospital administration to ensure compliance with the NEPPS regulation.
ASA supports meaningful information blocking regulations
and advocates for advancements in interoperability to improve patient care through information exchange. As future requirements rollout, members will be made aware of any effects on the specialty.
ASA members may email the CMS Health Informatics and Interoperability Group for more information at CMSHealthInformaticsAndInteroperabilityGroup@cms.hhs.gov
and/or reach the ONC via its feedback form