Associations attack burden of new disclosure rule

August 25, 2011

More than 90% of medical practices responding to a recent survey said that they would find it "very" or "extremely" burdensome to meet the requirements of the proposed "accounting of disclosures" rule.

More than 90% of medical practices responding to a recent survey said that they would find it "very" or "extremely" burdensome to meet the requirements of the proposed "accounting of disclosures" rule.

Mandated as part of the Health Information Technology and Clinical Health Act of 2009 but not yet enacted, the rule would require medical practices that maintain electronic patient information to produce a detailed report every time a staff member accesses patient information. That would include submitting claims for payment.

The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) surveyed its members on the issue and received more than 1,400 responses, the largest in history for its Legislative and Executive Advocacy Response Network (LEARN).

Based on results from the study, MGMA is asking the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to withdraw its current "accounting of disclosures" proposal and draw up a new one with input from medical practices.

"Considering how infrequently physician practices receive these requests from patients, the proposed rule fails to meet the statutory requirement to balance the needs of patients with the burden on providers," says William F. Jessee, MD, FACMPE, MGMA president and chief executive officer.

Jessee adds that the reports would be "extremely challenging for physician practices to produce and of little practical value to the patient receiving them."

Echoing Jessee's comments are the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). "Generating an accounting of disclosures is today largely a manual process for most covered entities, and we believe it will remain so for some time to come," CHIME says.

AHIMA is urging HHS to scale back the rule so that individuals' rights would be respected while limiting the cost to medical practices.