The head of the Office for Civil Rights at HHS says the department's proposed rule amending the types of information that patients can collect about disclosures of their personal health information aims to make providers and other data handlers more sensitive to patients' privacy concerns.
"This proposed rule represents an important step in our continued efforts to promote accountability across the healthcare system, ensuring that providers properly safeguard private health information," Office for Civil Rights Director Georgina Verdugo said in a news release. "We need to protect people's rights so that they know how their health information has been used or disclosed."
The proposed rule was released last week but was not officially published in the Federal Register until Tuesday.
The proposed rule would require covered entities using electronic health records to be able to account for their disclosures of patient records, including those related to treatment, payment and other healthcare operations, and then be able to report those disclosures to patients upon request. The office wrote the rule under the authority of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which contained significant privacy and security revisions to HIPAA. The public comment period on the proposed rule remains open through Aug. 1.