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The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently recommended the government consider making a number of modifications to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). HHS states the recommendations are part of the agency’s broader Sprint to Coordinated Care initiative. Overall, the changes would increase the ability of individuals and their loved ones to access medical information and reduce regulatory burdens.

Three things healthcare providers and leaders within the industry should note about these proposed modifications include:

  • Increased patient access. Individuals can inspect their own protected health information (PHI) in person. The proposal, if approved, would also allow these individuals the ability to take notes and capture images of these records for their own personal use.
  • Decreased response time. Current HIPAA rules require providers to respond to requests for PHI within 30 days. If passed, the modifications would cut this time in half, giving providers 15 days to respond.
  • Increased transparency on fees associated with getting PHI. The modifications also require the provision of electronic PHI without charge in certain situations as well as the provision of a clear fee schedule for copies of PHI.

Lawmakers have not yet approved the proposed modifications. Currently, the agency’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is open for public comment. It will remain so for 60 days. At that time, the group will review comments and may make additional changes to the proposal. We will provide an update if the proposal is passed and touch on any potential changes from the original proposed modifications included within this post.

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