The 21st Century CURES Act

**Enforcement Discretion: The resource links posted below suggest enforcement of information blocking requirements will not begin until February 2021:

The 21st Century CURES Act required ONC to develop regulations “to improve interoperability and patient access to electronic health information and deter information blocking”. This Act will produce a significant change to the timing and process of sharing electronic health information (EHI), including when it is automatically released to patients in the community. 

So what does this mean?

The regulation requires that any information that is permitted to be shared under HIPAA, is now required to be shared with patients without delay.  This includes laboratory and imaging results and most clinical notes.  There are allowable reasons to withhold information from the patient, but are quite restrictive.  In other words, lab results and clinical documentation will have to be accessible to patients immediately upon becoming final.

What is the deadline to comply?

The first mandate of the multi-year regulation goes into effect November 2, 2020.  There have been statements that the government will not begin enforcement until February, 2021.  However, there are differing opinions as to whether enforcement will be retroactive to November 2, or be forward looking beginning in February 2021 and potential penalties are very substantial.  RRH and UR Medicine are preparing to go live this fall with respect to lab result and note release. Additional regulations will go into effect in the coming years that you should also familiarize yourself:

Community impact

Lab results from UR Medicine and ACM/RRH Labs and most provider notes will be released to patients via RRH’s and URMC’s EMR patient portal at an expedited and broader manner compared to the previously agreed community schedule in order to comply with this regulation. 

What you should do next

Reach out to your EMR vendor to determine the timing for the changes they are making to comply with the CURES Act and ensure that your software is updated to comply with the regulation.  Ensure that your partners and staff are aware of the change and timing as well.  Be on the lookout for future webinars from MSSNY, your Specialty Society or your EMR vendor.  Please let MCMS know if you learn of any webinars so we can help spread awareness. 

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