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Health Information Exchange- How to get a Extention Update

Monday, June 22, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kay Castillo
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COVID-19 Legislation FAQs

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Roy Cooper signed the COVID-19 Recovery Act (NCSL 2020-3) into law by on Monday, May 4. This information is provided by the NC Health Information Exchange Authority.

Breaking down the mandate by deadlines:

For health care providers with an original deadline of June 1, 2018, (Hospitals, physicians [excluding psychiatrists], PAs and NPs who received reimbursement from NC Medicaid and had an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system originally required to connect by June 1, 2018):

Q. If my health care organization has completed a Participation Agreement but is not yet live, can I receive an extension of the deadline past June 1, 2020? Is there a form to fill out?

A. Health care providers who were required to connect prior to 2020 and who have already received extensions will receive an extension to connect and submit data by October 1, 2021. These extensions will be granted only to entities that have a valid Participation Agreement on file and are actively working toward connecting.

No forms or additional applications are required. Signing a Participation Agreement and beginning the onboarding process demonstrates a “good faith effort,” and the extension to October 1, 2021 will be automatically granted. This extension of time will allow the large queue of health care providers who are in active onboarding to complete the connection process. Connecting to NC HealthConnex can take up 12 months, depending on your EHR software.

For health care providers with an original deadline of June 1, 2020, (all other Medicaid and State-funded health care services not otherwise covered in the HIE Act):

Q. Does the October 1, 2021, deadline automatically extend to all health care providers who had a June 1, 2020, deadline?

A. Yes. All health care providers who had a June 1, 2020, deadline now have until October 1, 2021, to connect and start submitting data to NC HealthConnex. Providers who have a valid Participation Agreement do not need to take further action. The NC HealthConnex technical team will reach out when technical discussions are to begin with your practice.

If your health care organization has not signed a Participation Agreement with the NC HIEA, it is highly recommended to begin the process now as there are currently more than 5,000 health care facilities in onboarding. For more information, please join one of the monthly How to Connect Calls.
 
For Local Management Entities (LMEs)/Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) with a June 1, 2020, deadline:
 
Q. Does the October 1, 2021, deadline apply to LMEs/MCOs who had a June 1, 2020, deadline?

A. Yes. LMEs/MCOs who had a June 1, 2020, deadline now have until October 1, 2021, to connect and start submitting claims data to NC HealthConnex. The NC HealthConnex technical team will reach out when technical discussions are to begin with your organization.
 
For providers with an original deadline of June 1, 2021, (ambulatory surgical centers, dentists, state lab, pharmacies and state health care facilities):

Q. If my deadline was originally June 1, 2021, does it change to October 1, 2021?

A. No. These providers still have a June 1, 2021, deadline; however, organizations with a valid Participation Agreement on file with the NC HIEA and who are actively working on their connection to NC HealthConnex will be eligible to receive an extension to June 1, 2022.
 
Q. I have not completed a Participation Agreement with the NC HIEA. When should I begin this process now that the deadline has been moved to October 1, 2021?

A. The NC HIEA encourages all providers impacted by the HIE Act to begin the process now to initiate their good faith effort to meet the state’s reporting requirements. Currently, there are more than 5,000 facilities in onboarding, and it can take up to a year to complete the connection process.
 
Q. My health care organization is in queue to complete onboarding. How long before we can expect to be live in production so that we can fully participate in the state’s health information exchange?

A. The NC HIEA technical connections teams are working with more than 200 disparate EHR vendors to build technical integrations to the HIE. Currently, there are more than 80 EHRs live in production. Full participants may request expedited access to the Clinical Portal during the COVID-19 public health crisis to enable more informed treatment decisions at the point of care. To request access, please reach out to the NC HIEA SAS Help Desk at HIESupport@sas.com or (919) 531-2700.
 
Q. I plan to retire on or before the October 2021 deadline. Should I still move forward in the connection process?

A. NCSL 2019-23 provides DHHS authority to establish classes of providers for whom establishing a connection to the state-designated HIE is a hardship and provide extensions or exemptions to connecting. Please contact the Division of Health Benefits Provider Ombudsman at 919-527-6666 or Medicaid.ProviderOmbudsman@dhhs.nc.gov, to determine if you qualify.
 
Q. If I do not have access to broadband, do I still have to connect to NC HealthConnex?

A. NCSL 2019-23 provides DHHS the authority to determine classes of providers for whom establishing a connection to the state-designated HIE was a hardship. If you have questions about the hardship extension, please contact the Division of Health Benefits Provider Ombudsman at 919-527-6666 or Medicaid.ProviderOmbudsman@dhhs.nc.gov.
 
Q. Does the mandate apply to providers who do not have an EHR?
 
A. Yes. In order to connect and submit data to NC HealthConnex, you must have an EHR that is minimally capable of sending HL7 messages, version 2 or higher. The NC HIEA is working with more than 200 EHR vendors, and the list of those submitting data can be found here. We encourage you to procure an EHR as soon as you are able in order to begin the connection process. Connecting to NC HealthConnex can take up 12 months, depending on your EHR software.
 
Q. Will the hardship extension to December 31, 2022, still be available for certain providers?

A. Please contact the DHB Provider Ombudsman at 919-527-6666 or Medicaid.ProviderOmbudsman@dhhs.nc.gov with questions about the hardship extension.


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