June 17, 2019

June 14, 2019

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OCR Issues Anticipated RFI on HIPAA Modifications

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.

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About this Author

Dena Castricone, Murtha Cullina Law Firm, Privacy and Cybersecurity Attorney
Partner

Dena M. Castricone is a member of the Long Term Care and Health Care practice groups.  She is the Chair of the Privacy and Cybersecurity practice group and the Chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee.  Prior to joining Murtha Cullina, Dena served as a law clerk to the Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, Frank J. Williams.

Dena’s long term care and health care clients compete in a constantly evolving industry, facing both rising administrative and regulatory burdens and shrinking reimbursement rates. She helps skilled nursing centers, physician groups, home health and...

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