Connection Deadline FAQs If my health care organization has completed a participation agreement but does not yet have a "live" connection, should I request an extension of the deadline to January 1, 2023? Is there a form to fill out? No forms or additional applications are required. Signing a participation agreement and actively engaging in the onboarding process with your technical vendor demonstrates a good-faith effort to meet the extended deadline of January 1, 2023. This extension of time allows the large queue of health care providers in active onboarding to complete the connection process. Please continue your active efforts to complete onboarding. Connecting to NC HealthConnex can take up 12 months, depending on your organization’s electronic health records software. There are no guarantees of additional time extensions to statutory deadlines, and a report of providers who have not connected is due to the General Assembly in March 2022. Does the January 1, 2023, deadline automatically extend to all health care providers who had a June 1, 2020, or October 1, 2021, deadline? Yes. All health care providers who had an October 1, 2021, deadline now have until January 1, 2023, to meet the statutory requirement. If your health care organization has not signed a participation agreement with the N.C. Health Information Exchange Authority (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. If your organization has executed a participation agreement with the NC HIEA and is already in active onboarding, please be advised that you are expected to continue the technical integration. Failure to continue onboarding efforts will cause your organization to lose its place in the onboarding queue. If your organization has executed a participation agreement with the NC HIEA but has not started the onboarding process, be advised that the NC HealthConnex technical team will contact your organization when technical discussions are to begin with your practice. Please contact email@example.com with questions about your organization or if your organization needs additional guidance regarding instructions it has already received from NC HealthConnex or its technical team. Does the January 1, 2023, deadline apply to local management entities/managed care organizations that had an October 1, 2021, deadline? No. Local management entities/managed care organizations are not included in the extension to January 1, 2023. 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 January 1, 2023? The NC HIEA encourages all providers and organizations impacted by the Health Information Exchange Act and related session laws passed by the General Assembly to begin the process now to initiate their good-faith effort to meet the state’s reporting requirements. Currently, more than 5,000 facilities are in onboarding, and it can take up to a year to complete the connection process. 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? The NC HIEA's technical connections team is working with more than 200 disparate electronic health records vendors to build technical integrations to NC HealthConnex. Currently, more than 80 EHRs are live in production. Currently, on-premises connections take 3-4 months, and cloud roll-ons take 2-4 weeks. 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 NC HIEA's SAS Help Desk at HIESupport@sas.com or (919) 531-2700. Does the connection mandate apply to providers and organizations who do not have an electronic health record (EHR) system but otherwise provide services to Medicaid beneficiaries and/or other state-funded health care program beneficiaries? Yes. Providers and organizations that are subject to condition-of-payment connection mandate in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 90-414.4 are not exempt from the mandate because they do not presently maintain an electronic health record. To connect and submit data to NC HealthConnex, a provider or organization 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 electronic health records vendors, including vendors submitting data. We encourage you to procure an EHR as soon as you are able so that you can begin the connection and onboarding processes. Connecting to NC HealthConnex can take up 12 months, depending on your EHR software. If I'm an in-network provider with State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees and decide to not connect to NC HealthConnex, can I bill my patients directly to recoup payments I would have received if connected to the health information exchange? No. An in-network provider with State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees that renders health care services, including prescription drugs and durable medical equipment, and does not connect to NC HealthConnex is prohibited from billing the State Health Plan or plan members more than would be billed if the provider was an NC HealthConnex Participant. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 90-414.4(b1). Providers participating in the State Health Plan network should reach out to the State Health Plan with questions regarding this provision at BCBSNC Provider Services at 1-800-777-1643 or providerupdates@BCBSNC.com. Do updated statutory deadlines to the Statewide Health Information Exchange Act’s connection mandate affect the Hardship Extension process the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services facilitates? Before Session Law 2021-26 extended certain providers’ NC HIEA connection deadline to January 1, 2023, the N.C. General Assembly passed Session Law 2019-23 in June 2019. The earlier session law modified the Statewide Health Information Exchange Act and gave N.C. Department of Health and Human Services the authority to grant a temporary Hardship Extension to classes of providers for whom acquiring and implementing an electronic health record (EHR) system and connecting to the HIE Network would constitute an undue hardship. The Hardship Extension delay gave certain eligible providers and practices until as late as Dec. 31, 2022, to connect to the NC HIEA. Now, pursuant to both Session Laws 2019-23 and 2021-26, the operative deadline for many providers and their organizations to connect to NC HealthConnex and submit mandated data is January 1, 2023. Providers and entities with questions about the Hardship Extension process should contact the DHHS Division of Health Benefits Provider Ombudsman at Medicaid.ProviderOmbudsman@dhhs.nc.gov. When should I plan to connect to NC HealthConnex now that the deadline has been extended? Now. The extension of the connection deadline until January 1, 2023, allows additional time for health care providers to complete their technical onboarding process without being out of compliance with the HIE Act. However, please note that there are more than 5,000 facilities in onboarding at this time. Providers should continue to work diligently to connect to NC HealthConnex. The NC HIEA will be providing the General Assembly with a compliance-related report concerning providers' and organizations' connection efforts by March 2022.