Article highlights:

  • On May 6, 2021, the comment period for the proposed modification to regulations implementing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) Privacy Rule and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (“HITECH”) closed. The Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) at the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) issued its initial request for information in December 2018, subsequently released the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) to the public on December 10, 2020, and published the Proposed Rule in the Federal Register on January 21, 2021 (the “Proposed Rule”). After a significant degree of public interest in providing input on the proposals, OCR extended the comment period from its original end date of March 22, 2021 to May 6, 2021.
  • The Proposed Rule aims to change provisions of the Privacy Rule that impede the transition to value-based health care since they have resulted in barriers to coordinated care and case management communications among individuals and covered entities (including hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare providers, payors and insurers). It requires covered entities and business associates to update their policies, procedures, security standards, notices of privacy practices (“NPP”), authorization and disclosure forms, and business associate agreements, among other things. It aims to give providers more flexibility in disclosing protected health information (“PHI”) to provide care to patients.

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