New HIPAA Rules Issued

The following is a great article about new HIPAA rules issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Elizabeth Hogue is a nationally known expert, speaker and writer on home health law.

Part 1- New HIPAA Rules Issued

Elizabeth E. Hogue, Esq.
Office: (877) 871-4062
Fax: (877) 871-9739
Twitter: @HogueHomecare

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued final rules to:

– Modify the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy, Security and Enforcement Rules to implement            statutory amendments under the Health Information Technology Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) to strengthen the privacy and security protection for individuals’ health information;
– Modify the rule for Breach Notification for Unsecured Protected Health Information (Breach Notification Rule) under the HITECH Act to address public comments received on the interim final rule;
– Modify the HIPAA Privacy Rule to strengthen the privacy protections for genetic information by implementing section 105 of Title 1 of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA); and
– Make other modifications to the HIPAA Privacy, Security, Breach Notification and Enforcement Rules to improve their workability and effectiveness and to increase flexibility and to decrease burden on regulated entities.

The final rules will be published in the Federal Register on January 25, 2013, and will be effective on March 26, 2013. Covered entities and business associates must comply with the final rules by September 23, 2013.

This is the first in a series of articles that will address key provisions of the rules, their impact on post-acute providers, and practical solutions for compliance.

Major provisions in the form of four final rules include the following:

1. Final modifications to the HIPAA Privacy, Security and Enforcement Rules mandated by the HITECH Act and certain other modifications to improve the Rules that were issued as a proposed rule on July 14, 2010. The modifications include:
– Make business associates of covered entities directly liable for compliance with certain requirements of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules.
-Strengthen the limitations on the use and disclosure of protected health information for marketing and fundraising purposes, and prohibit the sale of protected health information without individual authorization.
– Expand individuals’ rights to receive electronic copies of their health information and to restrict disclosures to health plans concerning treatment for which individuals have paid out of pocket in full.
– Require modifications to and redistribution of covered entities’ notice of privacy practices.
– Modify the individual authorization and other requirements to facilitate research and disclosure of child immunization proof to schools and to enable access to decedent information by family members or others.
-Adopt the additional HITECH Act enhancements to the Enforcement Rules not previously adopted in the October 30, 2009, interim final, such as the provisions addressing enforcement of noncompliance with the HIPAA Rules due to willful neglect.
2. Final rule adopting changes to the HIPAA Enforcement Rules to incorporate the increased and tiered civil money penalty structure provided by the HITECH Act originally published as an interim final on October 30, 2009.
3. Final rule on Breach Notification for Unsecured Protected Health Information under the HITECH Act that replaces the breach notification rule’s “harm” threshold with a more objective standard and supplants an interim final rule published on August 24, 2009.
4. Final rule modifying the HIPAA Privacy Rule as required by the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) to prohibit most health plans from using or disclosing genetic information for underwriting purposes that was published as a proposed rule on October 7, 2009.

Future articles will focus on provisions of these four final regulations that are especially relevant to post-acute providers. There is clearly work to be done!

©2013 Elizabeth E. Hogue, Esq. All rights reserved.

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