Feds delay enforcement of new interoperability rules to ease burden on providers

The federal government announced Tuesday that, in a bid to ease regulatory burdens on providers during the pandemic, it’s delaying enforcement of two interoperability rules issued last month. 

Both the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT made the call this week. CMS plans to give physicians and other providers an added six months to comply. The agency said it will work in concert with ONC and the Office of the Inspector General to monitor “the implementation landscape to determine if further action is needed.”

“Now more than ever, patients need secure access to their healthcare data,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement. “Nevertheless, in a pandemic of this magnitude, flexibility is paramount for a healthcare system under siege by COVID-19.”

The American College of Radiology offered its own breakdown of the two final rules last month, which implement the interoperability-related provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act. That includes the ACR-supported expansion of the OIG’s authority to investigate and penalize any anticompetitive, info-blocking behaviors, the college wrote.