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HHS Extends Comment Period for Proposed Interoperability Rules


With the deadline for comments looming, CMS and ONC recognized the complexity and importance of the proposed interoperability rules.


On the heels of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) releasing updates to framework to advance the interoperability of health information, the agency announced that it is extending the public comment period for the proposed interoperability rules released by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The comment period was extended by 30 days to give stakeholders and the public more time to review the proposed rules.

The extension comes after requests from a variety of stakeholders, including healthcare providers and industry representatives.

In a WebEx roundtable call held by the HIMSS government relations team in March, Jeff Coughlin, senior director of federal and state affairs, and Tom Leary, vice president of government relations, said that their team was still working to figure out how to position HIMSS in its comment letter regarding the rules.

The team said that HIMSS had no fully formed ideas and that they were still trying to interpret the rules and definitions laid out.

According to HHS, both CMS and ONC understand the complexity of the rules and that the rules include a range of issues that have major effects on healthcare.

The proposed rules aim to increase choice and competition while fostering innovation that promotes patient access and control over their electronic health information.

“The extension of the public comment deadline will maximize the opportunity for meaningful input and further the overall objective to obtain public input on the proposed provisions to move the healthcare ecosystem in the direction of interoperability,” the announcement said.

The new deadline for comment submissions is June 3, 2019.

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