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‘A Continual Journey’; Info Blocking Rule in Effect; Privacy, Security Exceptions May Apply

With all of the chaos and stress from the COVID-19 pandemic, HIPAA covered entities (CEs) might be forgiven if they haven’t given much thought to implementing the provisions of an information blocking rule that went into effect this spring, after several delays.

So now may be a good opportunity to review the basic concepts in the rule, as well as to become familiar with exceptions that the rule provides for privacy and security, which CEs may need, or want, to invoke. Published Nov. 4[1] —which may seem like ages ago—the interim final rule went into effect April 5, but some provisions have compliance dates further into the future.

Building a foundation for implementing the regulation begins with understanding definitions in the rule, what might trigger a violation and the eight exceptions that may apply, according to Jaime James, senior health information management consultant for legislative policy and compliance for the Midwest Medical Records Association Inc.

In terms of ensuring compliance, James’ “best advice” is to “start from the beginning” and acknowledge “this is going to be a continual journey.”

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