HHS mulls changes to HIPAA

HHS is considering changes to the way substance abuse and mental health information is protected under HIPAA, GovInfoSecurity reports.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar, during a July 26 speech to the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation, said the agency is looking to reform the healthcare system and is reviewing "regulations that impede the ability of doctors, hospitals and payers to coordinate in delivering better care at a lower cost," he said, according to the publication.

HHS will soon begin seeking comment on potential changes to HIPAA and 42 CFR Part 2, the federal privacy law that protects the privacy of  substance abuse disorder patients who seek treatment at federally assisted programs.

"Following those requests for information, we will be taking regulatory action to reform these rules," Mr. Azar said. The two privacy laws "are not just impeding value-based arrangements in healthcare. They can also get in the way of communities and families working together to combat our country's crisis of opioid addiction, another top priority for President Trump."

Any changes to HIPAA or 43 CFR Part 2 would require HHS to go through a lengthy rulemaking process.

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