FAQs about House Bill 70 & NC HealthConnex

How do I know if House Bill 70 (N.C. Session Law 2019‐23) affects my requirement to connect to the HIE network known as NC HealthConnex?

How do I know if House Bill 70 (N.C. Session Law 2019‐23) affects my requirement to connect to the HIE network known as NC HealthConnex?

House Bill 70 exempts certain provider types from the mandatory requirement to connect and send data to the health information exchange network, NC HealthConnex. The following provider types have the option to connect on a voluntary basis; however, they are no longer required:

  1. Community-based long-term services and supports providers, including personal care services, private duty nursing, home health and hospice care providers
  2. Intellectual and developmental disability services and supports providers, such as day supports and supported living providers
  3. Community Alternatives Program waiver services (including CAP/DA, CAP/C, and Innovations) providers
  4. Eye and vision services providers
  5. Speech, language and hearing services providers
  6. Occupational and physical therapy providers
  7. Durable medical equipment providers
  8. Nonemergency medical transportation service providers
  9. Ambulance (emergency medical transportation service) providers
  10. Local education agencies and school-based health providers

These providers must sign a full participation agreement if they want to submit data to NC HealthConnex or if they simply want to access patient data in the clinical portal or utilize the suite of services. Submission-only agreements do not include a business associate agreement and therefore can only be signed by providers who are required to connect and submit data to NC HealthConnex.

Does House Bill 70 change the deadline to connect for providers not identified above?

Does House Bill 70 change the deadline to connect for providers not identified above?

  • Providers who originally had a deadline of June 1, 2019, to connect will now have a new deadline of June 1, 2020.

  • Licensed physicians whose primary area of practice is psychiatry now have until June 1, 2021, to connect.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the COVID-19 Recovery Act (NCSL 2020-3) was signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper on Monday, May 4. Section 3E.1.(a) addresses the connection requirement to the state-designated health information exchange network, NC HealthConnex, extending the June 1, 2020, connection deadline to October 1, 2021. In addition, all providers who have shown good-faith effort to connect to NC HealthConnex and have a valid participation agreement on file will also have the extended deadline of October 1, 2021. This extension of time will allow the large queue of health care providers in active onboarding to complete the connection process. Connecting to NC HealthConnex can take up 12 months, depending on your EHR software. 

Please note: If you were mandated to connect by June 1, 2020, your new deadline is October 1, 2021. Providers who have signed a participation agreement do not need to take further action. The NC HealthConnex technical team will reach out when technical discussions are to begin with your practice. 

What if my organization has signed a participation agreement with the NC HIEA, but we are now no longer required to connect per changes in House Bill 70?

What if my organization has signed a participation agreement with the NC HIEA, but we are now no longer required to connect per changes in House Bill 70?

Provider types listed under NCGS § 90-414.4(e) who are no longer required to connect have several choices. Exempt providers can still connect to NC HealthConnex, but they must sign a full participation agreement. Submission-only agreements will not be processed for exempt providers.

What does this mean for your health care organization?

What does this mean for your health care organization?

If you have submitted a full participation agreement:

  1. You may choose to not finalize your full participation agreement if it has not been signed by the N.C. Health Information Exchange Authority yet. If it has been signed by NC HIEA, we can terminate the agreement for you. Please send an email to hiea@nc.gov if you do not want NC HIEA to process your participation agreement, or you would like to terminate it. This will end your relationship with NC HIEA/NC HealthConnex.
  2. You have the option to continue your relationship as a participating organization. You may choose to still submit data to NC HealthConnex, or you may choose to simply receive access to the clinical portal and other value-added services. Having access to the clinical portal will allow you to view a more complete health record for patients with whom you have treatment relationship. No action is necessary at this time if you plan to become a full participant of NC HealthConnex.

For more information about the benefits of participating in NC HealthConnex, visit our learn more about its services, or sign up for the next How to Connect Call hosted at noon on the last Monday of each month.

Note: If you previously signed a submission-only agreement and would like to voluntarily participate in NC HealthConnex to view patient records or utilize NC HIEA's value‐added features, your organization can complete a full participation agreement.

Are all providers who receive funds from the state of North Carolina for the provision of health care services required to connect to the HIE Network, NC HealthConnex, even if we are physically located outside North Carolina?

Are all providers who receive funds from the state of North Carolina for the provision of health care services required to connect to the HIE Network, NC HealthConnex, even if we are physically located outside North Carolina?

House Bill 70 provides clarification that the state’s requirements for connectivity apply to providers licensed to practice in the state of North Carolina.

Does House Bill 70 allow providers to apply for a hardship exemption?

Does House Bill 70 allow providers to apply for a hardship exemption?

The legislation provides for the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services to develop a process by which health care providers will be able to apply for a hardship extension until December 31, 2022, if implementing an electronic health records and connecting to NC HealthConnex would constitute an undue hardship. This process will be communicated to health care providers in coordination with DHHS once it is defined.

Is more information available?

Is more information available?

For more information, call the N.C. Health Information Exchange Authority's business office at (919) 754-6912, or email hiea@nc.gov.