FAH worked closely with the Confidentiality Coalition, of which FAH is a longtime member, to submit comments to the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) on the Proposed Modifications to HIPAA Privacy Rule to Support, and Remove Barriers to, Coordinated Care and Individual Engagement proposed rule.
The comments support proposals to remove barriers to the exchange of health information, including for care coordination and reducing regulatory burden, such as the proposed elimination of the written acknowledgement of the Notice of Proposed Privacy Practices (NPP).
The comments also raise concerns with several proposals, including proposals that would give non-HIPAA-covered third-party applications (apps) more access to patient information – potentially without the patient’s knowledge. For example, the proposed rule would treat access to information by third-party apps at the direction of the individual as access by the individual, rather than as access by a third-party – a concerning and significant departure from HHS’s prior position and existing OCR guidance.
The comments also note there are now multiple overlapping and potentially conflicting rules addressing access to health data and interoperability, including the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC’s) final rule on interoperability and information blocking and CMS’s final rule on interoperability and patient access. The comments urge HHS to better harmonize these rules by adopting a common regulatory framework with common terms, definitions, and requirements.
Read the letter here.