The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released proposed rules to amend the electronic health record (EHR) donation exception and safe harbor under the Stark Law and Anti-Kickback Statute. The exception and safe harbor permit certain entities to share costs associated with EHR-related items and services with other entities. Under the regulations, the receiving party must pay at least 15 percent of the donor’s cost for the items and services.
The current language of the regulations has a “sunset” provision that requires a donor to transfer EHR items and services on or before December 31, 2013. Under the proposed rules, HHS would extend the sunset provision three years to December 31, 2016.
Without the rule change, existing donation arrangements would have to convert to a “fair market value” model for shared services and technology. The existing sunset provisions also provide a significant barrier to the development of new arrangements.
The rules also include the following proposed revisions to the regulations: (1) changes to the requirements for when EHR software is deemed “interoperable, (2) removal of the requirement related to electronic prescribing capability, and (3) limits on the types of entities that are allowed to make EHR donations.
HHS also seeks suggestions on how to achieve the following goals under the exception and safe harbor: (1) preventing the misuse of donated EHR technology in a way that results in data and referral lock-in, and (2) encouraging the free exchange of data created by donated software.
HHS will accept comments to the proposed rules until June 10, 2013.