The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights today issued guidance to help individuals better exercise their existing rights to access and obtain a copy of their personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act’s Privacy Rule. In a blog post announcing the new guidance, OCR Director Jocelyn Samuels indicates that it addresses the scope of information covered by HIPAA’s access right, the narrow exceptions to the right and other mandated elements, including timeliness, the form and format for providing access and how the HIPAA access right intersects with patient access requirements under the Electronic Health Record meaningful use and incentive program. “We will continue to develop additional guidance and other tools as necessary to ensure that individuals understand and can exercise their right to access their health information,” Samuels said.