December 14, 2020

Around the nation: How HHS wants to change HIPAA to ease care coordination

Daily Briefing

    Deputy HHS secretary Eric Hargan says the proposed changes to HIPAA include "needed, uncontroversial, bipartisan reforms" that will incorporate lessons the health care industry learned from responding to America's opioid and novel coronavirus crises, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Kentucky, and Texas.

    • District of Columbia: HHS on Thursday released a proposed rule that would make certain changes to HIPAA intended to reduce barriers to care coordination and bolster patients' access to their health information, the department said. Deputy HHS secretary Eric Hargan said the proposed changes include "needed, uncontroversial, bipartisan reforms"—based on feedback to a request for information HHS released—that will incorporate lessons the health care industry learned from responding to America's opioid and novel coronavirus crises. Among other things, the proposed updates include changes aimed at ensuring patients are permitted to take pictures of their medical records and test results in a doctor's office or hospital, permitting medical personnel to give details about a patient's condition to family or caregivers in emergency situations, if the worker has a "good faith" belief that doing so is in the patient's best interest and the patient doesn't object, and making it easier for a medical office or hospital to share pertinent information about a patient's condition with other health care providers (Landi, FierceHealthcare, 12/10; Brady, "Transformation Hub," Modern Healthcare, 12/10; Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated Press, 12/10).
    • Kentucky: Humana on Thursday announced plans to launch a Primary Care First model for qualified primary care providers in 48 states and Washington, D.C., who participate in the insurer's Medicare Advantage PPO and HMO plans. Under the new model, Humana will provide monthly prospective capitated payments to participating providers, and those payments will be based on providers' performance on certain outcomes and quality metrics. Humana said the model could help to provide stable income for primary care practices that have struggled financially amid America's coronavirus epidemic. "It's important to us to provide support and resources for primary care groups that seek greater financial stability and wish to transition from fee-for-service to value-based care. Humana is more committed than ever to innovation in value-based care toward helping clinicians do their work in spite of challenging circumstances," Oraida Roman, VP of value-based strategies at Humana, said (Minemyer, FierceHealthcare, 12/10).
    • Texas: The American Association of Nurse Practitioners' board of directors on Wednesday announced that they've selected Joe Fanning as the group's next CEO. Fanning will assume the role in March, and he'll also serve as a non-voting member on the board. Fanning will replace David Hebert, who has served as the association's CEO for eight years (Bean, Becker's Hospital Review, 12/9).
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