Accounting of Disclosure Rule on the Way

A proposed rule enacting changes to the HIPAA accounting of disclosure provision appears to be on the way. Yesterday, the Office of Management and Budget received a copy for regulatory review.

The regulation, which comes from the Office for Civil Rights, will modify the HIPAA privacy rule to implement expanded accounting of disclosure provisions required under the HITECH Act. The Office of Management and Budget anticipates publication of the rule this month.

The biggest change called for under HITECH requires covered entities that maintain protected health information in electronic health records to account for disclosures made for purposes of treatment, payment, and healthcare operations—actions previously exempted under HIPAA.

Also among the changes is a requirement that covered entities account for the disclosures of their business associates or require business associates to make their own accountings directly to individuals.

HITECH did not specify the types of information covered entities and business associates must provide. That will be determined in the forthcoming regulation.

In May, the Office for Civil Rights requested public input on accounting of disclosure. In part, the office sought comment on the administrative burden of managing expanded accountings, which many covered entities predict will far outweigh the value that patients will receive from them.

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