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October 21, 2022

Rule Expands Cures Act Effect on Resident EMR Access

The 21st Century Cures Act in 2016 included provisions on making electronic health records interoperable and authorized HHS to identify activities that are not “information blocking.”  The Cures Rule implementing these provisions was promulgated in 2020 and required providers to give patients access to their electronic health information without charge or delay.  Effective on October 6, the expanded definition of electronic health information in the Cures Rule went into effect and includes all of a patient’s electronic protected health information as defined under HIPAA.  Providers, including post-acute entities, are now required to provide free and prompt access to all electronic health information or face penalties.There are eight information blocking exceptions in two categories: five for not fulfilling requests and three for procedures for not fulfilling requests. OIG has authority to investigate information blocking claims.  In addition to benefiting patients, the new rule requires easier access for residents to their complete medical records, including electronic medical information (EMI) from most post-acute care providers and health information exchanges.  The Health IT Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is holding virtual office hours on October 27 for anyone with questions on the information blocking rules. 

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