The federal government plays an important role in ensuring patient information is safeguarded, particularly since its passage of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). AHIOS has been vigilant about monitoring HIPAA’s impact on the release of information (ROI) service industry and regularly advocates for the industry at the federal level. For example:
- Ensuring equitable compensation under HIPAA: Thanks to our persistent efforts, the federal government has clarified a provision of HIPAA that could have been financially devastating to the industry. The provision grants a reduced charge to patients who request their own medical records. Before the clarification, attorneys, who comprise the biggest requestor group, would often argue that they too were entitled to the discounted rate. The clarification now dissuades that argument, ensuring that ROI providers are fairly compensated.
- Winning an increase in reimbursement for Medicare patient records: AHIOS also worked long and hard to win a 70% increase in the reimbursement rate the federal government pays for the accessing and photocopying of medical records for Medicare patients. The reimbursement rate had never been adjusted since it was originally set in 1992. A related win was that the federal government agreed to adjust the Medicare reimbursement rate in the future to reflect factors such as inflation, without the lengthy public comment period that was previously required.