HHS has extended until Feb. 17 its initial Jan. 3 deadline for public comments on its proposed medical records privacy regulation.
The proposed regulation, published Nov. 3 in the Federal Register, would govern patient data that hospitals and other providers electronically transmit and maintain. It also would require hospitals to develop clear procedures for handling confidential patient data, name officers to oversee those procedures and notify patients about privacy protection practices.
Congress missed an August deadline to pass federal legislation governing privacy practices. Under a 1996 health insurance reform law, HHS was given the authority to develop privacy standards through regulation if Congress failed to act.