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OCR Solicits Comments on HIPAA Rules to Improve Coordinated Care

Richard P. Kusserow | January 2019

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is soliciting comments on the modification of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Rules to improve patient coordination of care. In a recently issued Request for Information (RFI), OCR solicits public comments on how it can change HIPAA Rules to decrease regulatory burdens or obstacles and promote the coordination of care and value-based healthcare.  OCR requests input on ways to achieve these goals without compromising the privacy and security of protected health information (PHI).  The RFI seeks comments regarding specific HIPAA Rule components that may generate burden and prevent coordination of patient care.

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In the RFI, OCR seeks input on four specific aspects of the HIPAA Privacy Rule:

  1. Amending the Privacy Rule to “encourage, incentivize, or require” covered entities to disclose PHI to other covered entities to promote information sharing for treatment, care coordination, and case management.
  2. Finding solutions that encourage providers and other covered entities to share treatment information, specifically regarding opioid use treatment or serious mental illness, with parents, loved ones, and caregivers of adults when an individual is facing a health emergency.
  3. Implementing the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act accounting requirement, which amends the HIPAA accounting requirement to also include uses and disclosure of treatment, payment, and health care operations (TPO) from electronic health records (EHR). The Rule should be adopted in a way that provides helpful information to individuals, but is not overly burdensome for covered entities or discourages the adoption of interoperable EHRs.
  4. Eliminating or amending the requirement that covered health care providers make a good faith effort to obtain written acknowledgment by an individual of the Notice of Privacy Practices (NPP).

The OCR RFI can be found at:

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About the Author

Richard P. Kusserow established Strategic Management Services, LLC, after retiring from being the DHHS Inspector General, and has assisted over 3,000 health care organizations and entities in developing, implementing and assessing compliance programs.

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