The electronic health record (EHR) interoperability and information blocking provisions outlined in the 21st Century Cures Act take effect on April 5, 2021 and hold significant implications for our insureds.
The protocol is, in part, intended to expand patient access to their medical information and improve interoperability between health information systems. The Cures Act measures specific to interoperability and information blocking, or denying or limiting access to patient health information, provide unprecedented access, exchange and usage of electronic health information (EHI) to patients and healthcare providers.
With 95 percent of hospitals and over 85 percent of office practices using EHRs, reports Fager, Amsler Keller & Schoppmann, LLP (FAKS), the law’s complex regulatory requirements impact nearly all healthcare providers. Of particular note, the Act limits information blocking and requires a multifaceted review of existing procedures.
To comply, FAKS recommends medical, legal and information technology staff and/or consultants do the following:
- Review HIPAA privacy and security policies and identify obstacles that constitute information blocking;
- Determine if existing platforms permit EHI access, exchange or use without creating opportunity for a security breach;
- Ensure EHR vendors and business associates are compliant with information blocking rules; and
- Educate staff on new legal requirements regarding requests for EHI access, exchange or use.
MLMIC cautions that failure to adhere to the Cures Act can result in significant fines. Additionally, we encourage policyholders to review FAKS detailed summary of 21st Century Cures Act and to contact the firm with any questions regarding the Act or its applications.