HHS Publishes HITECH Accounting of Disclosures Proposed Rule

On Friday, May 27, 2011, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) published a HITECH-required proposed rule on accounting of disclosures of electronic health records (EHRs).

The rule will ultimately lay the foundation for what healthcare providers will be accountable for when patients request disclosures on their electronic medical records. HITECH expands an individual's right to request accounts of disclosures of his or her health record.

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the enforcer of the HIPAA privacy and security rules, in May 2010 published a notice in the Federal Register asking for help crafting this proposed rule on accounting of disclosures on EHRs.

OCR wrote that it wanted to "better understand the interests of individuals with respect to learning of such disclosures, the administrative burden on covered entities and business associates of accounting for such disclosures, and other information that may inform its rulemaking in this area."

Current law exempts disclosures related to treatment, payment, and healthcare operations. But HITECH changed that, allowing patients to request these types of disclosures through an EHR.