This is a very brief post just to remind people the final rules on whether laboratories will be exempted from being able to donate electronic health records (EHRs) to clinicians starting in January 2014 are due out very soon.
Way back in April of this year I wrote about how the Office of the Inspector General for Health and Human Services (OIG) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) had both proposed extending the exception to the Stark law and the safe harbor provision of the Anti-Kickback Statute that allow donation of electronic health records (EHR) until December 31, 2016.
The Stark exception and the safe harbor provision were originally scheduled to sunset on December 31, 2013.
At the same time, it was announced OIG and CMS were strongly considering removing clinical laboratories from the list of protected donors because of concerns of fraud and abuse.
Folks in pathology and laboratory medicine were strongly encouraged to submit comments to both CMS and OIG and ask them to remove labs from the list. Many thanks to those of you who did.
We’ll soon find out whether those comments did any good.
Mr. Lee Dilworth, EVP and Chief Legal & Administrative Officer of American Pathology Partners, Inc., was kind enough to let me know CMS and OIG both submitted their final EHR rules to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) last week.
According to the Hall Render law firm, submission of the rules to OMB represents the final stage in the rule making process.
It is rumored both CMS and OIG recommended extending the Stark exception and safe harbor provision for three more years, but no one I have talked to knows whether labs will be carved out in the final rules.
Mr. Dilworth told me he expects the final rules to be released at the end of November or perhaps the first week of December. I will definitely report on them when they become available.
I should note these rules are distinct from the final rule for the Physician Fee Schedule/Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule, which is also due out before the end of the month.