A recent update to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) website suggests that the answer is “yes”—though that depends on how one defines “soon.” According to its website, OMB received the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC’s) final rule, entitled 21st Century Cures Act: Interoperability, Information Blocking, and the ONC Health IT Certification Program, for review on October 28, 2019.

Based on the rule title, it appears that ONC is ready to finalize its proposals concerning information blocking and related exceptions. Earlier this year, ONC issued a proposed rule that, among other things, proposed to define information blocking and establish seven exceptions to the broad prohibition for reasonable and necessary activities that should not be considered information blocking. For more information about the information blocking provisions of ONC’s proposed rule, see our On the Subjects here and here.

OMB review is one of the final steps in the process before a rule is published in the Federal Register. OMB did not identify a deadline for completing its review. The agency generally has up to 90 days to complete its review and while it can take less time, OMB took longer with ONC’s proposed rule.

ONC received more than 2,000 public comments on its proposed rule, many of which related to information blocking topics such as the broad scope of the proposed definitions for certain covered actors—e.g., health information exchanges and health information networks—as well as the scope of the definition of “electronic health information.” Several large industry stakeholders recently wrote a letter to Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions raising concerns about ONC’s rulemaking efforts to date and recommending, among other things, that ONC issue a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) to seek further input from stakeholders on various information-blocking-related issues. While we do not know the ultimate contents of ONC’s final rule, it does not appear that ONC has pursued the SNPRM path to gain additional public input.

While we wait for ONC to publish its final rule on key policy decisions that will shape the information blocking enforcement landscape moving forward, please do not hesitate to contact your regular McDermott lawyer or any one of the authors of this blog post if you have questions or need assistance related to information blocking.

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Photo of James A. Cannatti III James A. Cannatti III

James A. Cannatti III* practices at the intersection of today’s most pertinent health care issues, including digital health, health IT policy, and fraud and abuse, including Anti-Kickback Statute/Stark Law matters. With more than 10 years of experience in the US Department of Health…

James A. Cannatti III* practices at the intersection of today’s most pertinent health care issues, including digital health, health IT policy, and fraud and abuse, including Anti-Kickback Statute/Stark Law matters. With more than 10 years of experience in the US Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG), most recently as Senior Counselor for Health Information Technology, James is well-attuned to the regulatory issues impacting the rapidly evolving digital health landscape. Read James A. Cannatti III’s full bio. 
*Not admitted to practice in the District of Columbia; admitted only in Ohio. Supervised by principals of the Firm who are members of the District of Columbia Bar.

Photo of Daniel F. Gottlieb Daniel F. Gottlieb

Daniel F. Gottlieb counsels a wide range of health care industry clients, including health care providers, health plans, health information technology (IT) vendors and life sciences companies. He represents these entities on health IT acquisitions, privacy and data protection, reimbursement, fraud and abuse…

Daniel F. Gottlieb counsels a wide range of health care industry clients, including health care providers, health plans, health information technology (IT) vendors and life sciences companies. He represents these entities on health IT acquisitions, privacy and data protection, reimbursement, fraud and abuse, and other health care regulatory and transactional matters. Daniel is a co-leader of the Firm’s Global Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice. Read Daniel Gottlieb’s full bio.

Photo of Karen S. Sealander Karen S. Sealander

Karen S. Sealander focuses her practice exclusively in the health sector. She has more than two decades of experience representing and counseling health care providers, health insurance plans, integrated health care delivery systems, professional associations of health care providers and others in the…

Karen S. Sealander focuses her practice exclusively in the health sector. She has more than two decades of experience representing and counseling health care providers, health insurance plans, integrated health care delivery systems, professional associations of health care providers and others in the health sector on legislative, regulatory and legal matters. Read Karen Sealander’s full bio.

Photo of Scott Weinstein Scott Weinstein

Scott A. Weinstein provides legal counsel on health care regulatory compliance, contracting and transactional due diligence, with a focus on health information privacy and security, Medicare and Medicaid’s health information technology and quality reporting requirements, and clinical research regulations. Scott additionally provides legal…

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