With help from Darius Tahir

GET THOSE CARDS AND LETTERS IN: One of HHS’s most important health IT decisions this year is whether to make data sharing a condition of participation in Medicare programs. That question was posed in an RFI that CMS sent out in April; the agency asked for answers by next Tuesday, June 26.

… In the notice, CMS said it was considering requiring hospitals that participate in Medicare to share medically necessary information electronically with other providers when a patient is transferred or discharged. CMS wants to know whether members of the health care industry think such a rule would reduce information blocking as defined in the 21st Century Cures Act (ONC is supposed to come up with a more specific definition later this year), what kind of barriers well-meaning providers would face in complying with this rule, and what kind of time frame would be reasonable for compliance if CMS decides to go ahead with the requirement.

… “This is huge,” said former ONC chief Farzad Mostashari, now CEO of ACO consulting firm Aledade. There are still plenty of hospitals and health systems that don’t want to share data about patients, Mostashari said, and the government needs to get heavy with them. We haven’t seen any comments on this issue but “you’re going to see a very big group pushing for this requirement,” he told us.