Proposed disclosure rule too burdensome for practices, associations say

August 3, 2011

More than 90% of medical practices responding to a recent survey said that it would be ?very? or ?extremely? burdensome to meet the requirements of the proposed ?accounting of disclosures? rule. Read more to find out what several associations are suggesting in place of that rule.

More than 90% of medical practices responding to a recent survey said that it would be “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 (HITECH) 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 accessed 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). Respondents were asked how many patient requests for disclosure reports they had received in the past 12 months, and 65.1% said, “0 or 1 per [full-time-equivalent] physician.”

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,” said William F. Jessee, MD, FACMPE, MGMA president and chief executive officer, who added that the reports would be “extremely challenging for physician practices to produce and of little practical value to the patient receiving them.”

His comments were echoed by other groups such as 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 said.

AHIMA is asking HHS to scale back the rule so that individual’s rights would be respected but that the organizations expense for medical practices would be limited.

Look for publication of the final rule later this year.

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