Welcome to the January Compliance Blog Post!
Welcome to the January Compliance blog post – The first of many in 2023!
As part of HealthPoint’s ongoing HIPAA Security Program, Brian Thurston and Katherine Hall (the HIPAA Security and Privacy Officers) send quarterly HIPAA reminders. To kick off 2023, let’s discuss the changes to the HIPAA Privacy Rule going into effect this year.
HIPAA 2023 Changes
Before 1996, there was no federal law protecting the privacy of medical records in the United States. This also meant there was no uniform way to request or obtain medical records. In 1996, Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (which is where we get the acronym HIPAA!) to outline how records are accessed, managed and secured. While this act was a huge step forward, there have been updates almost annually as technology has increased in the healthcare world and as new issues have arisen.
Below is a summary of the changes that are occurring this year and what they mean:
- First, a healthcare provider cannot create an unreasonable measure that impedes access to Protected Health Information (PHI). Some examples of “unreasonable measures” include requiring notarization on request forms, only accepting paper submissions, or only accepting in-person requests.
- Second, the healthcare provider’s time to respond to a request for medical records has been reduced. We must act on the request as soon as possible, but no later than 15 calendar days.
- Finally, the most significant change in 2023 changes how healthcare providers can charge for electronic records. If an individual requests an electronic copy of their records, the healthcare provider can only charge for the labor needed to produce the records. Providers are unable to charge for things like media (a CD to put the records on), envelopes, postage, etc. This change only applies to electronic records, and it is designed to allow people easier and cheaper access to their records.
And now for the Compliance Blog Contest:
Here is a link to the Compliance Blog contest! It is a quick word scramble. The first five respondents will get a prize from the Compliance team!