On October 29, 2020, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) announced it was delaying the compliance deadlines for information blocking and other health IT provisions initially finalized in the “21st Century Cures Act: Interoperability, Information Blocking and the ONC Health IT Certification Program Final Rule” (21st Century Cures Act Final Rule) through the issuance of an Interim Final Rule with Comment Period (IFC).
The 21st Century Cures Act Final Rule implemented provisions containing far-reaching health IT provisions enacted in the 21st Century Cures Act with the goals of achieving widespread interoperability among health IT systems and improving a patient’s ability to access their medical information. Chief among these reforms is a broad prohibition against the practice of information blocking. The 21st Century Cures Act Final Rule implemented the statute by defining information blocking and its exceptions. Most notably, the IFC announced on October 29, 2020 extends the deadline for health care providers, developers of Certified Health IT and health information networks or exchanges to comply with the rule’s information blocking prohibition until April 5, 2021. The extension was granted in connection with the COVID 19 Public Health Emergency, and provides additional time for regulated actors to come into compliance with the 21st Century Cures Act Final Rule as a result of health IT resource shortages caused by the COVID 19 Public Health Emergency.
The IFC is the second extension of the original compliance deadlines originally announced in the 21st Century Cures Act Final Rule. In addition to the extension of the information blocking compliance date, the IFC also extends compliance deadlines for certain ONC Health IT certification requirements also finalized in the 21st Century Cures Act Final Rule. Those delays include an extension of the standardized application programming interface functionality from May 2, 2022 to December 31, 2022. ONC’s summary of the delayed compliance dates for all provisions in the 21st Century Cures Final Rule is provided here.