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Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Curious Case of the Missing Final Rule

Well, maybe I'll wake up tomorrow, log into, and the HIPAA Omnibus Final Rule will magically appear at long last.

Hunton and Williams' Head of Global Privacy and Data Security Practice Lisa Sotto, Esq gave a nice recent interview here on the topic. One factor she speculated might be a cause of the delay would be understaffing at OMB -- i.e., backlog.

I'm not buyin' that, in the wake of the deluge of FRs announced post-election. Moreover, while I could see why the administration might want to keep it off the lame duck session "fiscal cliff" radar, what's the excuse now? Keeping it away from the bogus "debt ceiling" carnival that will ramp up and conclude by March 1st?

The other rumor is that the NPRM is undergoing significant revision, hence the delay.

Be nice if they'd wrap it up. A lot of entities are on hold regarding various HIPAA related P&P updates that may be required by the Omnibus.


Health Information Industry Code of Conduct

Proposed: To achieve the universally supported objectives of systemic cost reduction and quality improvements, members of the health information industry should agree to maintain, uphold and abide by a uniform set of high standards related to data portability, patient safety, freedom of choice, and meaningful, ethical use by health care providers of health information technology (HIT).

Resolved: The signatories hereto, representing innovative, forward-thinking members of the health information industry, agree that they and their respective companies will adhere to each of the provisions of the following Code of Conduct:

1. Empowering Data Portability and Provider Choice

In the event that any client opts to change to the electronic health record (EHR) of another signatory, we will, at our own expense, facilitate the intact transfer to the latter’s EHR of all of the provider’s clinical data.

2. Building a True Nationwide Information Backbone

We will build, maintain, and curate reliable interfaces on behalf of any qualified healthcare provider that requests one.

3. Protecting Patients

We commit to public reporting of adverse patient safety event information. Within one year of signing, we will affiliate with a Patient Safety Organization (PSO), report all patient safety-related events to that PSO, and work proactively with clients to identify and resolve the causes of any such issues.

4. Preventing Fraud

We will actively monitor, and report to clients, changes in provider billing patterns that could indicate up-coding or fraud.

5. Driving Meaningful Use

We will adjust reporting to accommodate government quality reporting programs, at no incremental cost to clients...
 Pretty good. How about...
6. Fundamental Transparency

All vendors shall publish their RDBMS schema / data dictionaries.
I can dream.


No HIPAA Omnibus Final Rule today. In general, It's been a slow news period of late in Health IT, Lost of articles citing other articles citing yet other articles, etc.A relative dearth of really new topics.


No HIPAA Omnibus Final Rule. In other news:

CMS: Meaningful use incentives estimated to exceed $10 billion
Kyle Murphy, PhD, January 8, 2013

Early estimates for meaningful use payouts in December 2012 are slated to push the total amount of payments north of $10 billion. During the monthly meeting of the Health IT Policy Committee, which takes place today in Washington, DC, Rob Anthony of the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services is scheduled to present the update for the EHR Incentive Programs with final figures for November 2012 as well as estimates for last month. With the estimates for December 2012 included, the amount of payments made through the EHR Incentive Incentives is close to $10.32 billion (YTD)...

Once everyone has finished attesting for 2012, (EPs have until Feb 28th) there will be a large December spike.

Also noteworthy:
One might reflect on how timid our “meaningful use” requirements truly are on the cusp of 2013 in light of this headline from the Wall Street Journal in 1959: “Electronic Medicine: Scientists Press Work on Advanced Machines to Aid Medical Care. They See Automatic Nurses Watching Sick, Computers Helping Diagnose Illnesses.”
From The Man Who Brought Computers Into Medicine by Michael Millenson

More to come...

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