HIPAA Final Rule: Covered Entities–Permitted Uses and Disclosures & Required Disclosures

March 4, 2013.  Today, we start going through the HIPAA Privacy Rule, section by section, as modified in the Final Rule:  Modifications to the HIPAA Privacy, Security, Enforcement, and Breach Notification Rules Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act [HITECH Act] and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act; Other Modifications of the HIPAA Rules, which was published in the Federal Register on January 25, 2013.  The effective date of the Final Rule is March 26, 2013, and covered entities and business associates must comply by September 23, 2013. Our focus today is on covered entities in 45 CFR 164.502: Uses and disclosures of protected health information:  General…

READ MORE

OCR of HHS FINALLY Issues HIPAA/HITECH Act Privacy, Security, Enforcement, and Breach Notification Modifications Final Rule

January 18, 2013. On January 16, 2013, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) completed its EO 12866 regulatory review of RIN:  0945-AA03, and the long-awaited release of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) so-called “Omnibus” Final Rule was published at 4:15 PM on January 17, 2013, in pre-publication final draft form on the Federal Register’s Electronic Public Inspection Desk.  Publication in the Federal Register is scheduled for Friday, January 25, 2013.  The title of the Final Rule is:  45 CFR Parts 160 and 164:  Modifications to the HIPAA Privacy, Security, Enforcement, and Breach Notification Rules under the Health Information Technology for Economic and…

READ MORE

OCR’s Publicly Disclosed Large Breaches Now Top 20 Million Impacted Individuals

May 16, 2012.  The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) HIPAA/HITECH Act privacy and security enforcement arm, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), is responsible under the HITECH Act to publicly disclose privacy and security breaches that affect 500 or more individuals on its Breach Notification Web site.  With the now reported Utah Department of Health hacking/IT incident breach occurring in the period March 10-April 2, 2012 and affecting a reported 780,000 individuals, the total number in 435 breaches reported since September 22, 2009, now totals 20,079,189 impacted individuals.  Of the total number of breaches where location of breached information is known (e.g., electronic or hard copy source), 72% of…

READ MORE

HHS Publishes NPRM for HIPAA Health Plan Identifier and Delay for ICD-10 Compliance Date

April 17, 2012.  The Office of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published today in the Federal Register its Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM):  Administrative Simplification:  Adoption of a Standard for a Unique Health Plan Identifier; Addition to the National Provider Identifier Requirements; and a Change to the Compliance Date for ICD-10-CM and (CD-10-PCS Medical Data Code Sets. From the NPRM is the Summary of the Major Provisions: “a. HPID.  This rule proposes the adoption of the HPID [national unique health plan identifier] as the standard for the unique identifier for health plans and definitions for ‘Controlling Health Plan’ and ‘Subhealth Plan.’ The proposed…

READ MORE

Finally, HIPAA/HITECH Act Privacy, Security, Breach Notification, Enforcement Final Rules at OMB

March 24, 2012.   Today, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the Executive Office of the President showed that it had received the much-delayed Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Final Rules entitled:  Modifications to the HIPAA Privacy, Security, Enforcement, and Breach Notification Rules (RIN:  0945-AA03). Following review by OMB, the rules will be published in the Federal Register, most likely in April if OMB’s review is timely. The Abstract of the Rules reads:  “The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights will issue final rules to modify the HIPAA Privacy, Security,…

READ MORE

CMS Initiates 90-Day Enforcement Discretion for 5010 Compliance

January 1, 2012, is the date for covered entities to achieve compliance with ASC X12 Version 5010, NCPDP Telecom D.0, and NCPDP Medicaid Subrogation 3.0 transaction standards. Covered entities include healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses. Small health plans have until January 1, 2013, to comply with the NCPDP Medicaid Subrogation 3.0 standard. The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of E-Health Standards and Services (OESS) is responsible for enforcement of compliance with electronic transaction standards.  CMS announced on November 17, 2011, that “[w]hile enforcement action will not be taken [from January 1-March 31, 2012], OESS will continue to accept complaints associated with compliance with Version 5010,…

READ MORE

OCR Announces November 2011 Start of Privacy and Security Compliance Audits

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is responsible for privacy and security enforcement under Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act provisions. OCR has announced that it is initiating compliance audits beginning this month, as authorized by the HITECH Act.  This action precedes the imminent release of the Final HIPAA/HITECH Act Privacy, Security, Breach Notification, and Enforcement Rules, expected before the end of 2011, and will strengthen enforcement and accountability for compliance with existing and forthcoming Rule modifications.   To avoid the consequences of potential penalties for non-compliance, covered entities and business…

READ MORE

HHS Publishes HITECH Act Accounting of Disclosures NPRM

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has published in the May 31, 2011, Federal Register the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) entitled HIPAA Privacy Rule Accounting of Disclosures Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (76(104), pp. 31426-31449). This NPRM is available online in pdf.  Comments on the NPRM are requested to be submitted on or before August 1, 2011.  The Summary of the NPRM with abbreviations, as noted, on p. 31426, is: “HHS is issuing this NPRM to modify the HIPAA Privacy Rule’s standard for accounting of disclosures of protected health information.  The purpose of these modifications…

READ MORE

OCR Reports 107 Breaches Affecting Over 4 Million Individuals (II)

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) regularly updates its Web site listing of breaches affecting 500 or more individuals. As of July 2, 2010, there were 107 breaches listed that were reported to have occurred between September 22, 2009 and June 11, 2010. Individuals affected by these publicly listed breaches totaled 4,086,980. Six of the 107 breaches, or 5.6% of the total, affected 3,353,627 individuals, or 82% of the total. This is the second of three postings that analyzes the data from these 107 breaches. This posting (II) covers paper breaches. The first posting (I) covered electronic breaches, and the final posting (III) looks at the prevalence of business associate…

READ MORE

HITECH and HIPAA Training: Time to Double Down

As the healthcare industry continues to digest profound HITECH changes to HIPAA Privacy and Security rules, two observations already are apparent and indisputable for covered entities and their business associates.  First, time and resources spent on a workforce that is well-trained on the Privacy and Security rules will be an investment of exponential value. Second, enforcement of those same rules will make negligent and uncorrected errors very costly. A well-trained workforce makes fewer mistakes, and identifies and fixes those that it makes. A workforce that violates the rules because it does not know them or does not care to know them makes an inviting target for HITECH’s new enforcement initiatives….

READ MORE