The American Hospital Association, along with a coalition of other healthcare organizations, wants the HHS to postpone an information blocking deadline slated to start Oct. 6, according to a Monday letter sent to Secretary Xavier Becerra.
By that date, providers, health IT developers and others must start sharing all electronic protected health information in a designated record, effectively prohibiting entities from information blocking.
The groups warn they’re not prepared to meet the deadline and are struggling to interpret a clear definition of electronic health information or technical infrastructure to support secure exchanges, according to the release.
“Despite our best efforts to educate our members, significant knowledge gaps and confusion still exist within the provider and vendors communities with respect to implementation and enforcement of information blocking regulations,” the groups wrote in Monday’s letter.
“Based upon feedback from our members that continues to build, it is evident that both healthcare providers, clinicians and vendors are not fully prepared for the Oct. 6 deadline,” the coalition wrote.
The group wants the HHS to postpone the compliance date by a year while using corrective action or warnings for those found to be noncompliant before imposing monetary penalties or starting formal investigations, they wrote.
The HHS expanded its data-sharing mandate under its final rule implementing the 21st Century Cures Act. The HHS currently requires sharing only United States Core Data for Interoperability.
The 21st Century Cures Act requires certain legal analysis to determine whether an actor is guilty of information blocking. That includes whether the actor had the requisite knowledge or “intent,” and whether an actor met one of the eight exceptions for information blocking, such as preventing harm or protecting patient privacy.
It also directed ONC to create a process for the public to report claims of possible information blocking, and actors could be fined up to $1 million per information blocking incident.
In March the Office of the National Coordinator released its first set of data on information blocking, receiving 299 claims of information blocking since April 2021, with providers accounting for the majority of complaints, according to ONC.