The Request for Information on Modifying HIPAA Rules to Improve Coordinated Care is slated for publication in the federal register tomorrow. The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued an advance copy of the RFI yesterday. Specifically, “OCR seeks information on the provisions of the HIPAA Rules that may present obstacles to, or place unnecessary burdens on, the ability of covered entities and business associates to conduct care coordination and/or case management, or that may inhibit the transformation of the health care system to a value-based health care system.” The public comment period closes 60 days from December 14, 2018.
OCR seeks comment on a number of items but in the introduction it highlights the following:
- Amending the Privacy Rule to promote information sharing for treatment and care coordination;
- Addressing information sharing issues related to the opioid crisis;
- Implementing the HITECH Act requirement of providing an accounting of treatment, payment and health care operations disclosures from an electronic health record that minimizes burdens on providers; and
- Eliminating or modifying the requirement of obtaining a written acknowledgement of receipt of the Notice of Privacy Practices.
The 30+ page document details numerous specific questions about possible changes. The provider community should expend the time and effort to read this RFI and provide comments. It is critically important that the regulators truly understand the needless administrative and financial burdens and the obstacles to care that some of the HIPAA rules create. We don’t know when we will get this opportunity again.