Updated November 9, 2022 at 8:30 a.m.

Important dates related to the 21st Century Cures Act have recently passed or are fast approaching. It is a good time for dentists to make sure they are in compliance with the 21st Century Cures Act requirements.

It is important to note that the Cures Act does not apply to dentists that use paper records. For dentists with an electronic health record (EHR) but no patient portal, they do not have to offer a patient portal but must provide the electronic record if requested by the patient. 

By December 31, 2022, dental patients need to be given electronic access, free of charge, to their protected health information (PHI) via an online patient portal or app. Patients will have the ability to review their dental visit in real time and request changes. Dentists should consider and plan for potential issues that may arise from open records. On the bright side, a study showed that access to clinical notes can increase patient engagement and satisfaction.

Until October 6, 2022, the definition of information blocking was limited as it related to the scope of electronic health information (EHI). Now, the definition information no longer limits what’s considered EHI, so providers have had to “revise their practices related to EHI and make it available for access, exchange and use,” says information from the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology.

The blog, penned by Deputy National Coordinator for Health IT Steven Posnack, offered reminders and advice for providers.

“Remember, information blocking is more than just an individual’s access to EHI issue, it could involve a practice between a hospital and clinician practice, two hospitals, a doctor and a lab, a developer of certified health IT and a health information network or a practice involving other actors and entities,” Posnack writes.

MLMIC cautions that failure to adhere to the Cures Act can result in significant fines. We encourage policyholders to contact us with any questions regarding the Cures Act or its applications by calling (844) 667-5291 or emailing hotline@tmglawny.com

For general dental inquiries, you can reach the MLMIC dental team at (800) 416-1241 or at dental@mlmic.com

For more information for dentists, visit our resources pageVisit our blog to read advice from legal experts, as well as tips for new dentists, industry news and case studies. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for the latest updates.