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December 02, 2015

Delay in Publication Of Updated SHIN-NY Regulations May Delay Release of Policy Updates

Version 3.2 of the SHIN-NY Policies and Procedures was expected to be published in final by October 15, 2015.  The unofficial word, however, is that Version 3.2 may be delayed while certain issues relating to the proposed SHIN-NY Regulations are ironed out.  The SHIN-NY Regs are expected to drive key policy updates,  including revised requirements relating to patient consent and use of community-wide consent forms.  Another key provision in the SHIN-NY Regulations is the “date certain” by which Health Care Facilities must demonstrate bi-directional (i.e. data supplier and data user) participation in a qualified health information exchange.

The updated policies were made available to Qualified Entities (formerly RHIOs) throughout New York State for comment in mid-July.  The comment period closed at the end of August.  While few remaining issues existed relative to the Policies, possible changes in the updated SHIN-NY Regulations (which were scheduled to be released in early August for public comment, but as of this writing have not yet been released) leads me to believe that the updated Policies, will be delayed as well.

The original SHIN-NY Regulations were published for comment in the Fall of 2014.  The New York eHealth Collaborative, the Department of Health (DOH), designated entity administering the SHIN-NY, received a flood of comments on the proposed regulations, particularly as relates to privacy, patient rights, and minor consents.  Since that time, revisions to the proposed regulations have been a “work in progress.”

In the meantime, policy workgroups continue to update the Policies and Procedures.  Prior updates culminated in the DOH approval and release of Version 3.1 in June, 2014.  The need for constant update due to the rapidly evolving nature of health information exchange has been recognized in the processes which require regular updates.  That said, the release of the updated Policies does not make sense if the SHIN-NY Regulations would necessitate another almost immediate update of the SHIN-NY Policies and Procedures.  So, while Version 3.2 of the Policies is close to being a “wrap,” I suspect they will be withheld until issues relating to the proposed Regulations can be resolved.

Meanwhile, Version 3.1 of the Policies and Procedures remains the official guidance governing health information exchange in New York.  Most of the regional QEs operate using Version 3.1 but are prepared to update Policies and Procedures to Version 3.2 as soon as they become “official.”

In any case, the proposed Regulations, when released, will go through another 45-day comment period which could result in further revisions to the SHIN-NY Regs.  So who knows, Version 3.2 may be released as the official Policies and Procedures for health information exchange on the SHIN-NY before the SHIN-NY Regs become final.  If Version 3.2 is released before SHIN-NY Regulations go final, expect that Version 3.3 will follow closely behind.  In other words, stay tuned.

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