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AHA Urges CMS to Reevaluate the HIPAA Privacy Rule Accounting of Disclosures Proposed Rulemaking

In an August 1, 2011 letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, the American Hospital Association (“AHA”) urges the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) to reevaluate its HIPAA Privacy Rule Accounting of Disclosures Proposed Rulemaking (“Proposed Rule”). The AHA is the latest healthcare organization to urge the reconsideration of the Proposed Rule.

In its plea, AHA writes that the Proposed Rule is unable to “appropriately balance the relevant privacy interests of individuals with the substantial burdens on covered entities, including hospitals.” Further, AHA points out that the potential length of the reports required under the Proposed Rule would likely create a large burden for the covered entities without much benefit to the patients.

In conclusion, the AHA letter includes the organization’s recommendations for improvements to the disclosure rule. The AHA requests that HHS:
• “clarify the discussion of designated record sets, adopt its proposed exclusions to the accounting requirement and maintain existing exclusions” and preserve “a 60-day response requirement and limit an accounting to three years,”
• “reissue a request for information aimed at better reflecting the statutory requirements, the technological realities, and better alignment of the regulation’s effectiveness with the compliance burdens” instead of creating the “new individual right to an access report,”
• withdraw “the preamble discussion in order to reflect longstanding department guidance,”
• adopt other changes in the event that it does not to abandon the access report.

The entire text of the letter may be viewed here.

For more information, please contact Abby Pendleton, Esq. or Jessica L. Gustafson, Esq. at (248) 996-8510 or (212) 734-0128 or visit the HIPAA specialty page on the HLP website.

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