Five years after the last major change, HIPAA could be receiving an update in 2019.
Changes to HIPAA were proposed in 2018, but it will likely be closer to the middle of 2019 before these proposed updates will be signed into law.
At the end of 2018, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) issued a request for information on these issues that closed in February 2019. The comments and feedback are currently under review.
The first update includes the protection of substance abuse and mental health information records to help fight against the opioid crisis. Complaints have been made regarding HIPAA’s Privacy Rule, claiming that it is stopping patients and their families from receiving the help that they need.
The second is the removal of features of HIPAA that hinder the ability to deliver better health care at a lower cost. OCR is considering changing the Privacy Rule to make the sharing of patient information with other providers mandatory rather than simply allowing data sharing. The American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association are against this change.
The OCR is more than likely to drop the requirement of “healthcare providers to make a good faith effort to obtain individuals’ written acknowledgement of receipt of providers’ Notice of Privacy Practices.”
Before making any changes, the Department of Health and Human Services asks for feedback and comments. Once a rule has been changed, HIPAA-covered entities are given a short grace period to make all the necessary changes before they are mandatory.
There is no indication that that HIPAA enforcement will ease up in 2019. Enforcement in 2018 was extremely strict and saw large fines and settlement cases.
Project Hosts is a Cloud Service Provider that is HIPAA compliant. If any changes are made to HIPAA, we will take the necessary steps to ensure that our cloud services remain compliant to provide you with excellent services.
It is not confirmed that any changes will be made to HIPAA. However, after five years, many individuals believe that changers are overdue.