HIPAA Clarity Coming for Coordinated Care

January 4, 2019 | Rivkin Rounds Staff | Electronic Health Records | HIPAA | Legislation and Public Policy

On December 12, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights (OCR) issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking public input on how the HIPAA rules, especially the Privacy Rule, could be modified to promote coordinated, value-based healthcare. A January 1 article in Health Law360 entitled “Health Care Policy Moves To Watch In 2019” discussed the RFI under a subsection entitled “HIPAA Clarity Coming for Coordinated Care,” in which Rivkin Radler’s Eric Fader was quoted.

Eric inferred that the OCR intends to amend the HIPAA rules to require sharing of protected health information (PHI) among healthcare providers for the purpose of coordinating patient care, rather than simply permitting such sharing. This would address situations in which providers fail to provide requested information promptly, whether due to inefficiency or laziness, concerns about violating HIPAA, or prioritizing the practice’s current patients over requests for records of former patients. “It appears that [the OCR is] considering how to make sharing PHI for treatment more mandatory than permissive, and I think this is a good move,” Eric said.

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