Human Services Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR) proposed rule, issued last week, furthering privacy protections for patients. The AAHC commends OCR’s efforts to alleviate unnecessary compliance and administrative burdens that accounting for disclosure requirements have placed on covered entities, and applauds its efforts responding to specific concerns of the research community. “The AAHC is pleased with the OCR and its positive response to our recommendations and those of other stakeholders,” said Dr. Steven A. Wartman, AAHC President and CEO, adding that “the accounting for disclosure requirement of the HIPAA Privacy Rule has proved to be excessive and burdensome for the nation’s biomedical research enterprise.”
In response to the OCR’s request for information in May 2010, the AAHC expressed its concerns with the accounting for disclosure requirement, and the possible negative impact it would have impeding biomedical research necessary to advance the health and well-being of the nation. The AAHC further argued that the requirement had thus far shown little, if any, patient benefit. In an effort to foster information-sharing and encourage more collaborative, interdisciplinary, and community-based studies, the AAHC proposed that research be exempted from the accounting for disclosure requirement. The Privacy Rule currently requires covered entities to provide a six-year accounting for many disclosures of health information, including, in many instances, the transfer or sharing of information for research purposes, upon request of an individual.
“The AAHC looks forward to continuing to collaborate with HHS and the OCR to develop regulations that protect the privacy of research participants as well as advance our nation’s research aspirations and progress,” said Wartman, noting that academic health centers play a vital role in communities, the economy, and the vigor of the nation’s healthcare as they seek to advance and apply knowledge to improve health.
The AAHC is a national non-profit association representing more than 100 academic health centers, with a mission to improve the nation’s health care system by mobilizing and enhancing the strengths and resources of the academic health center enterprise in health professions education, patient care, and research.