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ADA urges withdrawal of ‘access report’ proposal

Washington—The Association urged the federal Office for Civil Rights to withdraw a proposal that would give patients “the right to receive an access report indicating who has accessed electronic protected health information in a designated record set.”

The proposed rulemaking “would impose enormous burdens, costs and expenses on a significant number of dental practices, with little apparent benefit to individuals,” the Association said in comments offered on the “HIPAA Privacy Rule Accounting of Disclosures under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act.” The notice was published in the May 31, 2011, Federal Register.

The disclosure rule would update the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act privacy rule accounting of disclosures provision and create an “access report” requirement.

ADA’s formal comments assess the impact of the proposed rule and its parts on covered dental practices and their business associates.

“The burden of complying with the proposed access report rule would not be justified by a corresponding benefit to individuals,” the Association said. “It would appear that few are likely to request access reports, because past experience in the health care industry indicates that very few individuals exercise the right to an accounting of disclosures. Moreover, the proposed access report rule would not provide individuals with meaningful, useful information.

“The proposed rule would impose expensive, time-consuming and laborious compliance burdens on covered entity dental practices and their business associates whether or not many individuals—or indeed any individuals—request an access report,” the Association said.

With regard to proposed compliance dates, the Association said that “many dental practices will require substantial additional time to come into compliance with the proposed rule, because they would need to purchase or upgrade technology and even add staff.”

The OCR, a Department of Health and Human Services agency, said the purpose of the proposed modifications to the HIPAA privacy rule is, in part, to implement changes required by the 2009 HITECH Act. Before issuing a final rule, the agency called for comments by Aug. 1.