HHS offers second draft of TEFCA, extends reg comment period

By | April 22, 2019

The Department of Health and Human Services continued its push to improve interoperability and increase access to health information with new rule-making efforts.

On Friday morning, HHS through the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT issued a second draft of the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA), among other steps to promote easier exchange of health information. It’s now seeking comments on the draft,

TEFCA will support the full, network-to-network exchange of health information nationally, seeking to advance nationwide interoperability through three high-level goals—providing a single “on-ramp” for nationwide connectivity; ensuring electronic information securely follows patients; and supporting nationwide scalability for network connectivity.

HHS also released a notice of funding opportunity to engage a not-for-profit, industry-based organization that will advance interoperability nationwide. Known as the Recognized Coordinating Entity (RCE) in the proposal, it will be awarded funds to develop, update, implement and maintain the common agreement.

The public comment period on the TEF, MRTCs, and QHIN Technical Framework ends on June 17.

The application period for the “notice of funding opportunity” for the RCE that would support TEFCA also will be open until June 17.

HHS also announced an extension of the comment period for two proposed regulations aimed at promoting interoperability of health IT. The extra 30 days—until June 3—comes after numerous industry groups asked the agency for more time to respond to the complex regulations, which were announced on February 11 with the goal of supporting the seamless and secure access, exchange and use of electronic health information.

More information on the ONC proposed rule can be found here.

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