HIPAA Disclosure Rule Comments Highlight Provider Opposition

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

A proposed HIPAA privacy disclosures rule would be an administrative and financial burden for providers. Furthermore, the rules go beyond the scope of HIPAA, and they could intrude on the privacy of healthcare providers.


Those were the predominant themes among more than 140 public comments received as the comment period drew to a close Monday.

The usual suspects of tech interest groups  such as CHIME and AHIMA filed comments as did a mix of hospitals, government offices, individual physicians, and vendors. Although many comments are generally supportive of the concept of transparency in regard to personal health records, implementation is another matter.

In one of the few complete endorsements of the proposed rule, Sheryl Nicklaus offered her comments from a consumer's perspective. "I want to know who is accessing my electronic health record...I want to know if my EHR record needs to be accessed for legal purposes, or for audit purposes, that facts in the record are NOT changed by medical staff in any way in the days before I receive the document (which is possible with the paper charts now.) This assures accountability and ethical truthfulness of the medical staff."

But the prevailing tone of the comments was negative.

Dr. Glen LaBine, a dentist, said simply, "due to the economy, this would put a hardship on my business. The burden of financial costs would cause me to close my practice."

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