CMS clarifies when charging patients fees for records is appropriate

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued new and updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Meaningful Use Incentive Program, including one that warns that is it not appropriate to charge patients a fee when they electronically view, download or transmit their health information pursuant to the incentive program, implying that the patients' access is really for the provider's benefit. CMS distinguishes this access from situations where records are provided to a patient in response to a request, and points out that fees charged in response to patient requests are governed by HIPAA's Privacy Rule. CMS also published a new FAQ on secure messaging, and updated two FAQs on outpatient calculations and public health agencies. Website