MGMA Study: Proposed "accounting of disclosures" rule unworkable, should be withdrawn

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. July 26, 2011 - Based on results from a new study, the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) calls on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to withdraw its proposed HIPAA "accounting of disclosures" rule and engage medical groups and other stakeholders to develop a consensus-driven solution before moving forward with the regulation. The accounting of disclosures regulation was mandated as part of the Health Information Technology and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH). If enacted as proposed, the rule would require medical practices that maintain electronic patient information to have the capability to produce a detailed report of every instance a patient's information was accessed by any staff member for any reason, including submitting claims for payment.

MGMA conducted a Legislative and Executive Advocacy Response Network (LEARN) study to gauge the impact of this proposed rule on physician group practices. The study received one of the largest responses in LEARN history, with more than 1,400 participants. The vast majority condemned the rule as burdensome and unnecessary. More than 90 percent said it would be "very" or "extremely" burdensome to produce a report upon a patient's request that would meet the strict government requirements. When asked how many patient requests for disclosure reports they had received in the past 12 months, 65.1 percent responded "0 or 1 per [full-time-equivalent] physician."

"Considering how infrequently physician practices receive these requests from patients, the proposed rule fails to meet the statutory requirement to balance the needs of patients with the burden on providers," said William F. Jessee, MD, FACMPE, MGMA president and CEO. "These reports, which would be required to show all electronic access to a patient's health information for up to three years, could be hundreds or even thousands of pages long, making them extremely challenging for physician practices to produce and of little practical value to the patient receiving them."

"We will continue to engage HHS in a constructive dialogue to achieve workable, effective implementation of this proposal to meet the needs of both patients and their physicians, "Jessee said. "Our concern is that if this proposal moves forward, the report requirement could have the unintended consequence of discouraging physician practices from investing in new technology and undermine efforts to enhance patient care and improve efficiency through EHRs."

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About MGMA
MGMA is the premier membership association for professional administrators and leaders of medical group practices. Since 1926, MGMA has delivered networking, professional education and resources, and political advocacy for medical practice management. Today, MGMA's 21,500 members lead 13,700 organizations nationwide in which some 275,000 physicians provide more than 40 percent of the health care services delivered in the United States.

MGMA's mission is to continually improve the performance of medical group practice professionals and the organizations they represent. MGMA promotes the group practice model as the optimal framework for health care delivery, assisting group practices in providing efficient, safe, patient-focused and affordable care. The American College of Medical Practice Executives (ACMPE) is the standard-setting and certification body of the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), and promotes the professional growth of leaders. By developing the Body of Knowledge for Medical Practice Management, ACMPE provides a central framework for MGMA resources. MGMA is headquartered in Englewood, Colo., and maintains a government affairs office in Washington, D.C. Please visit mgma.com.

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