Are You Ready for the Requirements Coming Under the 21st Century Cures Act?


Starting April 5, all practices must comply with the federal 21st Century Cures Act, which is designed to facilitate widespread access and sharing of health information among patients and physicians. 

To help you understand the law and how it will affect your practice in the future, the Texas Medical Association earlier this month hosted an Ask the Expert virtual discussion that focused particularly on the act's information-blocking rule. 

Participating physicians were able to ask questions to the experts who presented the discussion: Shannon Vogel, TMA associate vice president of health information technology, and Jeffery P. Drummond, a partner at the Dallas law firm Jackson Walker. 

Below are excerpts of a few of those questions: 

Question: Under information blocking rules, can a patient request test results before a physician has had opportunity to review the results with patient? 

Answer: Generally, yes. Unless an exception applies, it would be considered information blocking to prevent a patient from obtaining test results/reports, even if they haven’t yet been reviewed with the ordering physician. Patients can request, and physicians should release information detailed in the United States Core Data for Interoperability (USCDI) version 1 data set. Your electronic health record (EHR) vendor should have the functionality available that allows release of the USCDI data elements.

Q: Must I share clinical notes with patient if they ask?

A: Yes. There are eight clinical note types included in the USCDI, and, unless an exception applies, these should be released upon request. The eight note types are:

  1. Consultation note
  2. Discharge summary note
  3. History and physical
  4. Imaging narrative
  5. Laboratory report narrative
  6. Pathology report narrative
  7. Procedure note
  8. Progress note 

The “Ask the Expert” virtual series gives TMA members direct access to professional experts who can answer questions on legal, practice management, advocacy, and regulatory topics. 

Upcoming Ask the Expert sessions include:

  • E-Prescribing of Controlled Substances: March 23 at 6 pm (CT)
  • Human Resources and Employment Issues: April 8 at 6 pm (CT)
  • Telemedicine FAQs: May 14 during TexMed 2021, at noon and 2:30 pm (CT)

Last Updated On

March 18, 2021

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