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Healthcare Group Seeks Clarity on Information Blocking Rules

Highlights

  • MGMA seeks transparent information blocking rules.

  • They recommend a corrective action process over penalties.

  • Proposed rules may impose administrative, financial burdens.

The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) is advocating for increased clarity and a reduction in the burden that information blocking rules pose on healthcare providers. In their communication with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), they have proposed specific recommendations aimed at refining the information blocking provisions outlined in the 21st Century Cures Act.

Call for Clearer Guidelines

MGMA emphasizes the need for more explicit guidance on the operation of the information blocking program, its exceptions, and how it aligns with state legislation. There is a consensus among healthcare organizations for ONC to collaborate with other federal entities to create a unified approach to patient data sharing. These organizations highlight the necessity for support in maintaining privacy and security during the implementation of interoperability measures.

Reservations and Proposals

Despite recognizing the need to discourage information blocking, MGMA expresses reservations about the potential repercussions of the proposed rule on medical groups. They suggest establishing a corrective action process that allows healthcare providers to address allegations of information blocking without facing monetary penalties that could deter Medicare participation.

MGMA recommends an accessible appeals process that ensures due process and shields providers from significant financial damage if they are incorrectly accused of information blocking. Additionally, they advocate for eliminating the promoting interoperability category within the MIPS scoring system, which currently accounts for a quarter of the annual score and can significantly impact clinicians’ eligibility based on information blocking determinations.

MGMA has highlighted the administrative challenges that smaller providers will face under the MIPS program and the potential impact of penalties on value-based care. They warn that the proposed changes could create substantial administrative and financial barriers that are counterproductive to the promotion of value-based care and could hinder providers’ success in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP).

Finally, the rules could lead to considerable fines for noncompliance, affecting hospitals, clinicians, ACOs, and the investigation process itself. ONC acknowledges the complexity of evaluating each information blocking claim, emphasizing the need for case-by-case analysis and the use of informational resources to aid in accountability determination.

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