HHS Delays Implementation of Interoperability Rules in Response to COVID-19

On April 21, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services announced delays to the implementation of certain provisions of the interoperability final rules released on March 9, 2020, in response to COVID-19. A series of announcements were released from Centers and Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), along with the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) detailing the specifics of these delays. While certain stakeholders have called on HHS to delay the implementation of these rules in light of the public health emergency, other organizations have argued that with the increased use of telehealth and other virtual care, these rules need to be implemented and enforced.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)

The Interoperability and Patient Access final rule includes policies that impact a variety of stakeholders. CMS announced a series of implementation delays related to the timeline for the admission, discharge, and transfer (ADT) notification Conditions of Participation (CoPs) and exercising enforcement discretion in connection with certain API provisions.

National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC)

ONC announced it will exercise its discretion in enforcing all new requirements under health information technology standards (45 CFR Part170) that have compliance dates and timeframes until 3 months after each initial compliance date or timeline identified in the ONC Cures Act Final Rule. More details available here.

Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG)

The OIG also released a proposed rule outlining civil monetary penalties related to information blocking. In the rule, OIG proposes a maximum fine of $1 million per violation. OIG said it would delay enforcement until 60 days after its final rule is released.

Stay up-to-date on COVID-19 emerging issues through the McDermottPlus Coronavirus Resource Center or the McDermott, Will & Emery Coronavirus Resource Center.


For more information visit the McDermottPlus Payment Innovation Resource Center or contact Rachel Stauffer at 202-204-1460/rstauffer@mcdermottplus.com.