When hospitals, physicians, or health IT vendors prevent the necessary sharing or use of electronic health information, it is considered an illegal activity known as “information blocking.” A few years ago, the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) published rules to limit the practice of information blocking but only recently explained how HHS intends to enforce it. The “21st Century Cures Act: Establishment of Disincentives for Health Care Providers That Have Committed Information Blocking” proposed rule would create “disincentives” for providers eligible to participate in certain Federal programs.
On June 27, 2023, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) posted its final rule implementing information blocking penalties for health IT developers, entities offering certified health IT, health information exchanges, and health information networks. (We covered this in CORRelations when it happened.) On November 1, 2023, CMS and ONC released the companion proposed rule for disincentives for providers, which would be applied after the OIG determines an information blocking violation has occurred. Comments on the proposed rule are due by January 2, 2024.