What changes might you make in the final rule?

Thank you for reading our HIPAA Privacy FAQ posts which are intended to help you understand and comply with the HIPAA laws.

We continue to review the input received during the recent public comment period to determine what changes are appropriate to ensure that the rule protects patient privacy as intended without harming consumers' access to care or the quality of that care.

Examples of standards in the Privacy Rule for which we will propose changes are:

Phoned-in Prescriptions – A change will permit pharmacists to fill prescriptions phoned in by a patient's doctor before obtaining the patient's written consent (see the "Consent" section of this guidance for more discussion).
Referral Appointments – A change will permit direct treatment providers receiving a first time patient referral to schedule appointments, surgery, or other procedures before obtaining the patient's signed consent (see the "Consent" section of this guidance for more discussion).
Allowable Communications – A change will increase the confidence of covered entities that they are free to engage in whatever communications are required for quick, effective, high quality health care, including routine oral communications with family members, treatment discussions with staff involved in coordination of patient care, and using patient names to locate them in waiting areas (see the "Oral Communications" section of this guidance for more discussion).
Minimum Necessary Scope – A change will increase covered entities' confidence that certain common practices, such as use of sign-up sheets and X-ray lightboards, and maintenance of patient medical charts at bedside, are not prohibited under the rule (see the "Minimum Necessary" section of this guidance for more discussion).

In addition, HHS may reevaluate the Privacy Rule to ensure that parents have appropriate access to information about the health and well-being of their children. This issue is discussed further in the "Parents and Minors" section of this guidance.

Other changes to the Privacy Rule also may be considered as appropriate.

Also, learn more about how we may help you become compliant with HIPAA Security Standards with our HIPAA Security Assessment ToolKit™ and HIPAA compliance software tool.

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