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This just in, there is an information blocking rule. Just kidding. There's been an information blocking rule, except now it has some teeth. Mostly.

Transcript

Today in health, it information blocking rules have been finalized. Penalties are in place. We talked about it today. My name is bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system and creator of this week health set of channels, dedicated to keeping health it staff current and engaged. We want to thank our show sponsors who are investing in developing the next generation of health leaders, short tests and artists. I check them out at this week. health.com/today.

Having a child with cancer, one of those painful and difficult situations family can face in 2023 to celebrate five years at this week health we are working to give back. We're partnering with Alex's lemonade stand all year long. We have a goal to raise $50,000 from our community. We've already raised up over $40,000. This year. We asked you to join us in our website.

And it actually, I moved to, it used to be in the top banner. Now it's just in the top right column. You're going to see a logo for Alex's lemonade. Stand, click on that logo. And go ahead and give today. We believe in generosity of our community. And we thank you in advance. All right. Information, blocking rules are out. Thought I'd share some insights with you. I, I pulling this article from healthcare, dive.

HHS finalizes info, blocking penalties for it vendors. Kick-starting in forcement. Here we go. The ONC in 2020 finalized, long awaited regulations, requiring providers, health information, exchanges, and health. It developers certified by ONC to share data with patients and with each other. The rules resulted in more hospitals, electronically sharing health information though. Data exchanges.

Is still patchy across the U S which complicates quality of patient care between care sites. Regulators also in 2020 proposed new civil monetary penalties. For health it vendors and networks to enforce that rule, which are now final, having a stick in place to enforce the compliance three years after the original rule is expected.

Two more form firmly moves the needle on interoperability in us healthcare. The industry has been awaiting this rule and we anticipate that it will be. One more step in ensuring the electronic health information is flowing in support of patient care. ONC head Micky Tripathi told healthcare, dive in a statement, violators can face fines up to $1 million, but regulators will determine the exact amount based on the factors, including the.

Nature and extent of the information blocking and the harm that resulted from it. Such as how many patients were affected. The OIG rule, also outlines priorities in investigating and punishing information. Blocking claims the department expects to get more complaints, then it can investigate. , OIGs health it policy lead said in a tweet on Tuesday.

As a result, investigations will focus on cases of information blocking. That had the potential to cause patient harm impacted provider's ability to care for patients. Went on for a long time. Cause federal healthcare programs to lose money. Or we're performed knowingly. The OIG also said it might prioritize investigations based on volume of claims, alleged against a single actor.

And there's some crazy jargon in here from the document itself. Our enforcement priorities will inform our decisions about which information blocking allegations to pursue, but these priorities are not dispositive. D I S P O S I T I V E. And I need my, , dictionary and thesaurus. Each allegation will present unique facts and circumstances. That must be assessed.

Individually the 130 page funnel rule reads. We can and do expect to investigate allegations of other information, blocking conduct, not covered by the priorities. And as we gain more experience with investigating and investigating information blocking, we will reassess our priorities. Accordingly regulators noted.

So there's some information. Let me go down here. The OIG said. They could also refer allegations to other agencies. , since April, 2021, the ONC has received more than 700 possible claims of information blogging, but regulators have been unable to start investigating the allegations without a final rule around enforcement.

Now the OIG could begin enforcement. As soon as the summer, the final rule will go fully into effect. 60 days after it is published in the federal register, the wide majority of information blocking allegations. I have been levied against healthcare providers. Which still don't face any penalties for information blocking the timeline to finalize a regulation that would establish disincentives for providers has been pushed back multiple times. However, once the penalties are established,

Enforcement will fall under the just released OIG rule. According to the ONC regulators have run up against a slew of difficulties in crafting a rule that could stand up to industry scrutiny. Tripathi told healthcare, dive. Late last year. All right, so there you have it. , You know, it's interesting.

I mean, here's the dive brief, just to give it to you by an administration on Tuesday finalized penalties for health, it companies found blocking the electronic flow of health information. Freeing regulators. To start investigating the backlog of complaints, HHS office of inspector general federal rule and act statutory penalties created by the 21st century cures act, including fines up to a million dollars per information, blocking violation.

And re regulars have yet to codify information, blocking penalties for providers, a separate rule that's been held up admitted enforcement complexity. And is now expected to be published this fall. So that's the, the brief on this entire article and what's going on. , so, you know, as providers, which is a majority of the people I'm going to be talking to in this podcast,

, we are still waiting to see how this comes out. It will come out in the fall. But, you know, the fall is, let's see, we're in July. Let's just call it July. Because we're two days away. , July, August, September, I think that's the fall. So you've got about three months until the penalty is getting enacted. So again, this has been going on for awhile.

. We've known about this literally for , multiple years. Now, I can understand reasons for not getting this put in place because of potentially some health systems are in such financial dire straits that they don't have the wherewithal to do some things. I will understand if there isn't enough staff, but again, three years, this is three years in the making.

And I understand we don't want regulations to run all of our it initiatives, but again, three years, this has been going on for three years and I understand there's reasons why it's not fair. . I understand all those things. But when I read and hear those quotes come October, November, December.

What you're going to hear from me is no excuse three years. Three years you've known about this. It's not like it just came up and, oh my gosh, there's too much of a burden. We can't do this. Should have been working , with your HIE. Should've been working with your, , EHR provider should have been working with.

, potentially, depending on what you have, you could have an integration engine. You could have, , , any number of ways that this, , regulation could have been. , enacted so, or within your health system. So, , , if you're nowhere on this, you've got about three months to get it right.

So we will have to see where this whole thing plays out. But again, we're a highly regulated industry. Regulation does drive a bunch of it initiatives every year.

, we need to have our eye on those things and

We need to ensure that those things get prioritized knowing full well that there will be carrots and sticks at some point. All right. That's all for today. Tomorrow is Friday, man. Can't wait to do Friday's episode, a little more free form. But, , yeah, this is word, topic, information, blocking rules. Final rule is out there. All right. If you know someone that might benefit from our channel for them to know, let them know they can subscribe wherever they listen to podcasts.

, we want to thank our channel sponsors once again for investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders, short test and 📍 artists, I check them out at this week. health.com/today. Thanks for listening. That's all for now.

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