Senior Communications Manager
Wiley Rein's Kirk Nahra Comments on Proposed Rule Changes to the HIPAA Accounting Rule
Privacy Practice chair Kirk Nahra weighed in on proposed rule changes made by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' Office for Civil Rights in connection with the HIPAA accounting right. ModernHealthcare.com reported that the potential overhaul could give patients greater insight into how their information is shared and that "the Civil Rights Office has enforcement authority for the HIPAA privacy rule and said the proposed rule reflects changes mandated by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, or HITECH, which are part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009."
But Mr. Nahra explained that the new proposed rules go much further than HITECH and that the practical application could include e-mails between providers. "It's not limited to disclosure," Mr. Nahra said. "It includes use and business associates. It's a phenomenally broad proposal."
Mr. Nahra concluded that a patient's right to demand an accounting of disclosures that goes beyond treatment, payment and other healthcare operations "is a right that's been in HIPAA for a long time that very few people have used. The thought was, let's balance the benefits with the burden. I don't think (the rulemakers) realize the burden that will be in place if this rule gets finalized the way it's written." Mr. Nahra noted that the proposed accounting and electronic report-making requirements are asking more of the technology than is currently available.