Health Information Management

HHS announces new lab/HIPAA rules, new OCR director

HIM-HIPAA Insider, September 27, 2011

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Patients may have easier access to lab results under a proposed rule announced by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius September 12.

The proposed rule would allow patients to access test results reports directly from labs, which would provide such information directly to patients or their personal representatives, according to an HHS press release.
“When it comes to healthcare, information is power. When patients have their lab results, they are more likely to ask the right questions, make better decisions, and receive better care,” Sebelius said September 12 at the first-ever HHS Consumer Health IT Summit in Washington, DC.
CMS, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) drafted the proposed rule. It would amend the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) regulations and HIPAA privacy regulations to strengthen patients’ rights to access their own laboratory test result reports, according to the HHS press release.
Sebelius also announced September 12 the appointment of Leon Rodriguez as the new director of OCR. “Consumers need to know that private and secure access to their health information is a given,” Rodriguez said in the HHS release. “The privacy and security of health data will be a top priority for OCR during my tenure.”
Sebelius also unveiled a voluntary Personal Health Record (PHR) Model Privacy Notice. The notice creates an easy-to-read, standardized template allowing consumers to make informed decisions based on their privacy and security policies and data practices about PHR products. By making this Model Privacy Notice available, PHR companies can help build greater trust in PHRs, according to the HHS press release.
Editor’s note: Click here for more information about the proposed amendments to the CLIA and HIPAA Privacy Rule. For the latest HIPAA news and information, visit the HIPAA Update website.

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