Health Information Management

HITECH accounting of disclosures proposed rule released

HIM-HIPAA Insider, June 7, 2011

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On May 27 HHS released a display copy of the Accounting of Disclosures proposed rule as required by HITECH legislation.

The rule will ultimately lay the foundation for the responsibilities of healthcare providers in terms of patient requests for disclosures on their electronic medical records. HITECH expands individuals’ rights to request accounts of disclosures.
It also includes a new right for patients to request an “access report,” which will tell patients who accessed and viewed their PHI. This right was not included in HITECH legislation.
“We believe that these changes to the accounting requirements will provide information of value to individuals while placing a reasonable burden on covered entities and business associates,” according to the rule. “The process of creating a full accounting of disclosures is generally a manual, expensive, and time consuming process for covered entities and business associates.”
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR), HIPAA privacy and security rule enforcer, published a notice in May 2010 asking for help crafting the rule.
OCR wanted to “better understand the interests of individuals with respect to learning of such disclosures, the administrative burden on covered entities and business associates of accounting for such disclosures, and other information that may inform [our] rulemaking in this area.”
Current law exempts accounting for disclosures made for treatment, payment, and healthcare operations purposes. However, per HITECH, patients must now be able to request these types of electronic disclosures.
Editor’s note: For the latest information, visit the HIPAA Update blog.

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