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​Federal Interoperability Final Rules

Federal Interoperability Final Rules Overview

On March 9, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released two health IT final rules requiring implementation of new interoperability policies.

  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Interoperability and Patient Access Final Rule focuses on patient access to electronic health information (EHI) and interoperability among providers, payers and patients.
  • The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act) Final Rule focuses on health IT certification, which applies to health IT developers; and policy guidance on what does not constitute information blocking, which applies to healthcare providers, health IT developers, and health information exchanges/networks.

The goal of CMS' Interoperability and Patient Access Final Rule is to put patients first, giving them access to their health information when they need it most and in a way they can best use it. The purpose of Cures Act Final Rule is to give patients and their healthcare providers secure access to health information and to foster innovation to provide patients with more choices in their healthcare. The rule includes a provision requiring that patients can electronically access their electronic health information at no cost.

ONC 21st Century Cures Act Final Rule

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) Cures Act Final Rule was also published in the Federal Register on May 1, 2020. See the Cures Act Final Rule website for more information and the latest updates. See Cures Act final rule infographics for regulatory dates and enforcement discretion dates. ONC intends to exercise enforcement discretion for 3 months at the end of certain ONC Health IT Certification Program compliance dates associated with the Cures Act Final Rule to provide flexibility while ensuring the goals of the rule remain on track.

CMS Interoperability and Patient Access Final Rule

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Interoperability and Patient Access final rule was published in the Federal Register on May 1, 2020. CMS finalized four new policies for payers and three for providers. A brief description of each of these topics can be found in the CMS Fact Sheet. On August 14, 2020, CMS released a State Health Official letter that describes how CMS-regulated payers (including Medicaid managed care plans) should implement this final rule. In addition,updated CMS guidance includes adjustments to the implementation and enforcement timeline, technical standards, and implementation guidance for Patient Access and Provider Directory APIs.

Past Events

Federal Interoperability Final Rules Webinar for CCOs/PayersOHA's Office of Health IT is hosted a Federal Interoperability Final Rules Webinar, specifically tailored to CCOs/payers (including Medicare Advantage plans). The webinar took place on November 5, 2020, from 2:00 – 4:00 pm. The ONC and CMS final rules implement interoperability and patient access provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act, requiring the implementation of new policies that will give patients unprecedented safe, secure access to their health data. National health IT subject matter expert, Rim Cothren, presented on the CMS Interoperability and Patient Access final rule payer requirements. In addition, representatives from the Oregon Health Authority who cover Medicaid Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs), Dental Care Organizations (DCOs), and Fee-For-Service were present to provide information and answer questions.

The webinar covered:

  1. Review CMS Interoperability and Patient Access final rule requirements for applicable CMS-regulated payers
  2. Share what OHA is doing in relation to the rules
  3. Discuss what CCOs/payers need to do
  4. Highlight impact to health plan member experience
  5. Explore opportunities for coordination among impacted payers and sharing of best practices
  6. Answer questions

Who is this webinar geared toward? This webinar was intended to orient CCOs/payers (including Medicare Advantage plans) to the CMS Interoperability and Patient Access final rule payer requirements and what OHA is doing.

Federal Interoperability Final Rules WebinarOHA's Office of Health IT is hosted a Federal Interoperability Final Rules Webinar on October 1st from 2:00 – 3:30 pm. The ONC and CMS final rules implement interoperability and patient access provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act, requiring the implementation of new policies that will give patients unprecedented safe, secure access to their health data. National health IT subject matter expert, Rim Cothren, presented the requirements of both final rules, which have implications for payers, providers, health IT vendors/developers, and health information exchanges and health information networks. The webinar reviewed:
  • The individual requirements
  • Upcoming deadlines
  • Federal plans for enforcement
  • Challenges organizations may face in meeting the requirements

This free webinar provided an overview of the final rules requirements for all those affected including payers, providers, health IT vendors/developers, and health information exchanges/networks. See the resources section of this page for the meeting materials, handout, and recording.

Everyone has a right to know about and use Oregon Health Authority (OHA) programs and services. OHA provides free help. Some examples of the free help OHA can provide are:

  • Sign language and spoken language interpreters
  • Written materials in other languages
  • Braille
  • Large print
  • Audio and other formats 

If you need help or have questions, please contact Marta Makarushka at (971) 239-9541, or OHIT.Info@state.or.us at least 48 hours before the meeting. OHA will make every effort to provide services for requests made closer to the meeting.

Contact us

If you have questions, please reach out to Marta Makarushka.
Contact information: 
Marta Makarushka, Lead Policy & HIT Environment Analyst

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