OCR’s Proposed Revisions to Accounting for Disclosures Standard Produces Strong Opposition from Many Covered Entities

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Introduction

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is reviewing comments submitted by interested parties to OCR’s proposed rule (Proposed Rule) to implement a provision of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) that expands the accounting for disclosures standard under the privacy standards (Privacy Standards) adopted under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The HITECH Act provision requires health care providers, health plans and other HIPAA covered entities (Covered Entities) to account for disclosures of Protected Health Information (PHI) made through an electronic health record for treatment, payment and health care operations purposes. Based on comments made publicly available by the commenters, the Proposed Rule has engendered vigorous opposition within the health care industry.

The Proposed Rule follows OCR’s request for information from interested parties and the public on implementation of the HITECH Act provision on May 3, 2010 (Request For Information). OCR indicates in the preamble to the Proposed Rule that responses to the Request For Information influenced the drafting of the Proposed Rule.

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