"The administration has had 601 days to draft and publish clear information blocking regulations ... it is past time for a proposal to be made."
WASHINGTON, DC (August 6, 2018): Health IT Now - a broad-based coalition of patient groups, provider organizations, employers, and payers supporting the use of data and health information technology to improve healthcare - led more than a dozen cosigners on a letter warning the Office of the National Coordinator for Healthcare Information Technology (ONC) and the Office of Inspector General (OIG) that it is "past time" to implement the information blocking provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act.
The letter marks 601 days since enactment of the Cures law and explains, "Every day that the administration delays implementation of these critical provisions places patients at risk of harm," adding that "the lack of clear rules of the road needlessly creates uncertainty for vendors and providers alike."
Health care leaders' correspondence with the administration also occurs as ONC holds its 2nd Interoperability Forum, despite having failed to take action thus far on information blocking; one of the greatest obstacles to achieving true, widespread interoperability today.
Recently, ONC Chief Don Rucker suggested that the administration may wait even longer to carry out the information blocking-related tasks prescribed under Cures, writing in a Health Affairs column that implementation of these provisions in the law would occur "over the next few years" - a timeline that would needlessly keep patients at risk and stoke continued uncertainty.
Cosigners on Health IT Now's letter to ONC and OIG include: American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), Brain Injury Association of America, Call9, Cambia Health Solutions, Claim Your Health Data Coalition, Dorsata, McKesson, National MS Society, New Directions Technology Consulting LLC, Oracle, Research!America, and United Spinal Association.
Read the full letter here.
A longtime leader in the fight against information blocking, Health IT Now has previously taken action by:
- Releasing a February 27th, 2018 report with the Bipartisan Policy Center entitled, "The Future Role of Government in Health IT and Digital Health." The report called on the administration to "use its existing authority ... to ensure that information flows freely, without information blocking," adding that "As part of this work, applicable federal agencies, including the OIG, CMS, and ONC should enforce 21st Century Cures information blocking provisions."
- Leading more than a dozen health IT organizations in an August 29, 2017 sign-on letter offering specific recommendations for eliminating the threat of information blocking, including calling for a proposed rule clarifying information blocking provisions in Cures.
- Hosting a July 25, 2017 information blocking summit with nearly two dozen stakeholder groups to discuss ways to most effectively engage in the effort against harmful information blocking practices.