CHCF Releases Updated Supplements to Guides To Help Providers Meet HIPAA Privacy Requirements
The California HealthCare Foundation yesterday issued updated supplements to three guides released earlier this year to help the health care industry in California meet requirements of the Federal Health Privacy Rule mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (CHCF release, 12/16). The guides, titled "Implementing the Federal Health Privacy Rule in California," explain the interaction between the privacy rule and state patient privacy laws and provide recommendations for compliance with both federal and state regulations. The guides, which address different areas of the health care industry, include: "Health Care Providers," "Health Insurers and Health Care Service Plans" and "Pharmacists, Physical Therapists and Others" (California Healthline, 2/25). The three supplements, prepared by the Health Privacy Project at Georgetown University, address revisions that HHS made to the privacy rule earlier this year (CHCF release, 12/16). In August, HHS issued a final privacy rule, which applies to electronic but not paper medical records, that allows providers to share the records for the purposes of treatment and other "health care operations." Under the regulation, providers must obtain consent from patients before they can disclose medical records in "nonroutine" cases. However, providers do not have to obtain written consent before they disclose medical records, a provision included in an earlier version of the rule issued by the Clinton administration. Providers only have to inform patients of their new rights and make a "good faith effort" to obtain written acknowledgment from patients that they have received the information (California Healthline, 10/22). The guides and the updated supplements are available online at no cost.This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.