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HIPAA Disclosure Rule Comments Highlight Provider Opposition

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, August 1, 2011

Medical Group Management Association's more than 21,000 members are professional administrators and leaders of medical group practices. Like AHIMA, the MGMA provided information gleaned from a survey of its membership that included a very low demand for the access records. MGMA reported that 65% of the respondents reported they had received less than 1 patient request per FTE physician for disclosure reports in the past 12 months.

"Considering how infrequently physician practices receive these requests from patients, the proposed rule fails to meet the statutory requirement to balance the needs of patients with the burden on providers," wrote William F. Jessee, MGMA president and CEO. "These reports, which would be required to show all electronic access to a patient's health information for up to three years, could be hundreds or even thousands of pages long, making them extremely challenging for physician practices to produce and of little practical value to the patient receiving them."

College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) represents more than 1,400 CIO members, healthcare IT vendors and professional services firms. In its comments CHIME notes that the access reports would not differentiate between uses of the information for care delivery and disclosures of the information. "Many legitimate access events could occur across clinical systems that fall outside certified EHRs, complicating any requirement to deliver a consolidated report or allowing for customized views."

The comment letter takes issue with the release of the names of staff members who have accessed a patient's information saying the disclosures has the potential to "expose employees to unnecessary scrutiny or other negative consequences. This could be viewed as a violation of employee rights."

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