NYS Department of Health releases draft regulations governing the Statewide health information network for New York

New York State continues its efforts to develop and sustain a statewide health “information highway,” which it hopes will “allow clinicians and consumers to make timely, fact-based decisions that will reduce medical errors and redundant tests and improve care coordination and the quality of care.” To date New York State has provided over $400 million in grants to support health information technology projects. An additional $55 million to support the further development of the SHIN-NY was included in the state budget adopted in April.

The NYS Department of Health also released last week draft regulations that seek to establish the regulatory framework and policies to guide the continued development and operation of the statewide network. Prior to the release of these regulations, the state was using its grant contracts to articulate the technical and operational expectations for the SHIN-NY.

Specifically, the draft regulations provide that the state will contract with a state designated entity (SDE) to manage the development and operation of the SHIN-NY. The SDE, which needs to be a nonprofit entity, will in turn contract with qualified health IT entities(QE), including regional health information organizations(RHIOs). The QE/RHIOs will need to be certified by the NYS Department of Health to provide health information exchange services aimed at supporting widespread interoperability among “disparate health information systems.” The draft regulations also address patient information sharing and patients’ rights. The regulations establish the general rule that patient consent would be required in order for a provider to access patient information made available through connection with a QE/RHIO. This is consistent with current NY law, which requires patient consent for information to be shared among a patient’s treating providers. The regulations also recognize an exception to the requirement for patient consent for a provider to access patient information in cases where a provider makes “a determination that an emergency situation exists and the patient is in immediate need of medical attention, and an attempt to secure consent would result in delay of treatment[,] which would increase the risk to the patient’s life or health.”

Also of significance, the draft regulations will require that two years after the effective date of the regulations hospitals, hospices and health maintenance organizations utilizing certified HER technology must connect to the SHIN-NU through a QE and allow private and secure bi-directional access to patient information by other QE participants authorized to access patient information.

The draft regulations will need to be formally published and remain subject to additional revisions and public comment.

For more information regarding the SHIN-NY visit: