The ONC Rule Changed to April 2021 – Act Now to Comply!

The ONC issued a final rule on March 9th, 2020, to hold entities who interfere with, prevent, or materially discourage the access, exchange, or use of electronic health information (ePHI), accountable. It was the Information Blocking final rule, and it affected healthcare providers (Hospitals, SNFs, LTCH, Mental Health Centers, and more), ‘Certified Health IT developers, (Certified EHR developers), and HIEs.  

The final rule came with strict compliance deadlines for care providers to refrain from information blocking and HIT vendors’ compliance with the Health IT certification requirements. Some relief is on the way for the affected parties currently battling the COVID-19 pandemic. We have covered the essential deadline updates in this blog. 

The final rule on Information Blocking and the Interoperability and Patient Access final rule comprised two significant updates in 2020. The complex operational challenges and strategizing required for compliance made them a significant milestone for the calendar year. With the COVID-19 pandemic still running rampage, the HHS has decided to extend the original deadlines to back clinicians and doctors’ efforts who are currently working at the threshold of their capacity. 

The ONC’s Interim final rule extends the compliance deadlines related to Information Blocking and its Conditions and Maintenance of Certification (CoC/MoC). The postponement of dates allows the affected parties additional time and flexibility to address the immediate threats arising from the pandemic.  

Here’s What You Should Know 

The Information Blocking Final Rule’s regulatory compliance dates have moved to 5th April 2021 from the originally announced 2nd November 2020 deadline.  

The interim final rule also extends the compliance dates for the 2015 ONCHIT Certification program, stretching the deadlines of the CoC to 31st December 2022. The extension of the deadlines aims to find the middle ground between establishing the Cures Act Final Rule’s importance for care providers and HIT vendors and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on these stakeholders.  

Health IT stakeholders began to voice out their concerns about the pandemic in April 2020. The ONC’s first response came in the form of an initial three-month extension of each initial date or timeline for all the new requirements under the ONC Health IT Certification Program (Program).

Key Takeaways

Here’s an overview of the date extensions and the areas they influence: 



 Parting Words 

With many stakeholders seeking further clarity and guidance on the Interim Final Rule, the ONC plans to release FAQs addressing the questions submitted to it through its feedback and inquiry portal. There will be more clarity and changes associated with the Interim Final Rule in the coming days, and Nalashaa will bring you the latest updates. Follow this space for more updates. 

The 2021 Updates


Reach out to us at to speak with one of our healthcare experts about the Cures Act Final Rule and its impact on care providers and HIT vendors. 


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Puneeth Salian

Puneeth Salian

A writer in Healthcare domain, who is also a science and technology enthusiast. Enjoys creating interesting pieces that elucidate the latest Healthcare IT trends and advancements.
Puneeth Salian

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