EHR Association urges CMS to extend comment period for prior authorization process

EHR Association urges CMS to extend comment period for prior authorization process

The HIMSS EHR Association this week sent a letter asking the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to extend the comment period on its Advancing Interoperability and Improving Prior Authorization Processes proposed rule by at least 45 days.


On Jan. 21, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT released a request for information on its standards, specification and certification criteria. 

ONC said with the Patient Engagement, Information Sharing, and Public Health Interoperability RFI, the agency seeks to reduce administrative burdens on patients, providers and payers. 

“The industry has been waiting for the aforementioned proposed ONC regulation since last year,” according to the letter signed by David Bucciferro, EHRA chair and advisor at Foothold Technology, and Dr. William Hayes, EHRA vice chair and chief medical officer and CPSI. 

“We understand it will include requirements for health IT vendors related to supporting some of our clients’ obligations under the CMS Interoperability and Prior Authorization proposals,” they added. “Without a clear understanding of those impending EHR developers’ obligations, it is not possible for the EHR Association, our member companies or our clients to offer appropriate, robust feedback to the CMS proposed rule.”


CMS is issuing its prior authorization standards rule to speed up the time it takes for payers to approve requests as well as implement HL7 FHIR standards.

The process could save eligible physician practices and hospitals more than $15 billion over a 10-year period, according to the agency’s announcement in December – ahead of ONC’s proposed rule announcement.

CMS proposed a March 13 deadline to submit comments, and providers have been supportive of the rulemaking.

“The [American Hospital Association] commends CMS for taking important steps to remove inappropriate barriers to patient care by streamlining the prior authorization process for some health insurance plans,” said Ashley Thompson, senior vice president, public policy analysis and development for AHA.

Many health IT stakeholders have stressed that they would like to see CMS encouraging use of the most current information-sharing standards in the year ahead. 

“Let’s make sure that what ONC is proposing, CMS builds on to and doesn’t take us in a different direction on interoperability,” said Tom Leary, senior vice president and head of government relations at HIMSS, parent company of Healthcare IT News.


“We strongly urge CMS to delay the deadline for comments on your proposed rulemaking to allow all stakeholders to consider the crucial context of ONC’s requirements for the technology our clients will use to comply with the CMS rule,” said EHRA officials in the letter to CMS. 

Andrea Fox is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.


Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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