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AHA urges changes to proposed rule for PHI disclosures

August 1, 2011

The Department of Health and Human Services should not require hospitals and other entities covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act to provide to individuals on request a report detailing all internal disclosures of their personal health information from electronic designated record sets, the AHA told the department in a letter today. AHA said the proposal, included in a proposed rule modifying the HIPAA privacy rule under the HITECH Act, fails to meet the law's requirement to "appropriately balance the relevant privacy interests of individuals with the substantial burdens on covered entities, including hospitals." The association urged HHS to withdraw the proposal and "reissue a request for information aimed at better reflecting the statutory requirements, the technological realities, and better alignment of the regulation's effectiveness with the compliance burdens." While generally endorsing the rule's proposed accounting of disclosures revisions, AHA urged additional changes to ensure a proper balance of the value of the information to patients with the burdens to covered entities of producing it. AHA also urged HHS to retract the rule's preamble commentary about the HIPAA security rule in order to reflect longstanding department guidance.