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Increased Transparency

Posted by ClearDirections on June 28th, 2011 in Accountable Care Organization, Hospital Management, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act | No Comments

HIPAA, HHS, Affordable Care Act, ACO
Recently the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) proposed new modifications to the more than decade-old HIPAA rules. The current proposal by HHS seeks to create a system that provides more information to individuals about who is accessing and using their healthcare information. These changes appear to be in line with the Affordable Care Act proposed rules, given they lead to greater accountability for entities in how they guard protected health information.

HHS proposes to alter the Privacy Rule by dividing it into two sections, one about the right of an individual to an accounting of disclosures and the other for the right of an individual to an access report. In doing so, HHS also has proposed to broaden the scope of information to be accounted for by including business associates, while at the same time narrowing the time frame to be covered when accounting for information from six years to three years. Also, currently entities are only tasked with listing the types of disclosures that are exempt from an accounting of information, but under the proposed rule, entities would also list each disclosure.

The provision would limit the protected information to be accounted for to information believed to be most important to individuals, which would include health care and payment decisions about an individual. These records would be maintained in a designated record set. Other information would remain protected under the Privacy Rule, even though tracking in a designated record set is not required. For covered entities to maintain such records, they will need to ensure that their EHR system is up-to-date and has the capability to access and create these reports.

These changes appear to better align the HIPAA Privacy Rule with the proposed Affordable Care Act and will be important to note for covered entities. For more information about EHR systems and IT development, feel free to contact us.

We have provided a general overview here of HHS’ proposed changes to the HIPAA Privacy Rule, For an in-depth reading of these changes, click here to access the proposal.

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