OCR Seeks Feedback for Modifying HIPAA Rules to Promote Efficiency and Reduce Burdens on Covered Ent

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR), recently issued a Request for Information (RFI) for public input on modification of the Privacy and Security Rules under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to further promote coordinated, value-based healthcare. This was this reported last week by White & Williams LLC.

Announcing that the OCR is “looking for candid feedback about how the existing HIPAA regulations are working in the real world and how we can improve them,” the RFI seeks broad input on the HIPAA Rules with emphasis on specific areas of the HIPAA Privacy Rule, including:

  • Encouraging information-sharing for treatment and care coordination

  • Facilitating parental involvement in care

  • Accounting for disclosures of PHI for treatment, payment, and health care operations as required by the HITECH Act

  • Changing the current requirement for certain providers to make a good faith effort to obtain an acknowledgment of receipt of the Notice of Privacy Practices.

  • HHS developed the HIPAA Rules to protect individuals’ health information privacy and security interests while also permitting necessary information sharing. In recent years, requests have been made to revisit the HIPAA Rules to the extent they limit or discourage information sharing that facilitated coordinated care and value-based health care.

In HHS’s press release, Deputy Secretary Hargan noted in particular struggles in the opioid crisis and how the Privacy Rule can get in the way of patients and families getting the help they need. Public comments on the RFI are due to the OCR by February 11, 2019.

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