Population and Public Health

HIMSS Supports Information Blocking Disincentives, Calls for More Resources in Response to CMS Provider Disincentives Proposed Rule

Nurse and patient using digital tablet in clinic

HIMSS supported the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) proposals for provider disincentives for information blocking and recommended providing resources and education for providers to facilitate appropriate access to electronic health information. These public comments were submitted by HIMSS in response to the 21st Century Cures Act: Establishment of Disincentives for Health Care Providers That Have Committed Information Blocking proposed rule.  

The proposed rule details financial disincentives that range from $600 for an individual provider up to $165,000 for large provider groups, while Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) found to be information blocking will be removed from the Medicare Shared Savings Program for a year. The rulemaking also proposes the creation of a website that will identify organizations and the nature of the information blocking offense for providers found guilty of information blocking by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General. 

HIMSS supported the implementation of disincentives for providers participating in information blocking, while also suggesting CMS increase financial incentives for compliance; create tiers for financial disincentives; and provide additional education and resources for first-time information blockers found to be acting in good faith, to encourage participation in information exchange. HIMSS also recommended a robust marketing campaign to raise awareness of the proposed information blocking webpage resource. 

“We recognize the delicate balance the government is trying to achieve,” said Tom Leary, senior vice president and head of government relations at HIMSS. “Generating disincentives will encourage participation in an interoperable ecosystem, but unnecessary burden will discourage provider participation in Medicare.

“Great information exchange supports increased access to care and ultimately improves patient safety and care outcomes. HIMSS encourages ONC and CMS to provide additional education and resources to mitigate potential hardships as providers abandon information blocking practices.” 

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