HHS OCR Requests Feedback on HIPAA Privacy Rule
On January 28, 2019, the Office of Health and Human Services the Office for Civil Rights (HHS OCR) issues a Request for Information (RFI) seeking input from covered entities regarding several aspects of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Specifically, the HHS OCR is seeking input regarding several elements of the Privacy Rule, including the following:
- Encouraging information-sharing for treatment and care coordination
- Facilitating parental involvement in care
- Addressing the opioid crisis and serious mental illness
- Accounting for disclosures of PHI for treatment, payment, and health care operations as required by the HITECH Act
- Changing the current requirement for certain providers to make a good faith effort to obtain an acknowledgment of receipt of the Notice of Privacy Practices
I am aware that several AAA member services who have struggled with many of the HIPAA restrictions regarding the sharing of PHI with other healthcare entities. In particular, with regard to individuals who suffer opioid overdoses and efforts to ensure the individual has access to drug treatment programs. Additionally, HHS OCR is seeking input from covered healthcare providers regarding the “good faith” efforts to obtain acknowledgement of the receipt of Privacy Practices. This has been a considerable challenge for EMS given the nature of our healthcare delivery model. The relaxing of this regulatory requirement would substantially reduce the burden on EMS agencies.
The AAA recommends that our members review the HHS OCR Request for Information and submit comments by the February 12, 2019 deadline. If members have any questions or need assistance in submitting their comments, the AAA is here to help.