On December 10, 2020, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) recommending changes to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy Rule. As part of HHS' Regulatory Sprint to Coordinated Care, HHS intends that the proposed changes will improve patient care by enhancing care coordination and reducing regulatory burdens. Specifically, the proposed rule seeks to increase patients' access to their health information and expand information sharing for care coordination and case management purposes. HHS believes that it will allow greater family and caregiver involvement for those facing emergency situations or health crises, as well as improve flexibilities for disclosure in life-threatening or emergency situations, including opioid overdoses or COVID-19 emergencies. Finally, the proposed changes are intended to reduce administrative obstacles on health care providers and health plans, while continuing to protect health information.
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