The Reality of HIPAA Violations and Enforcement

Who is ultimately responsible for enforcement of HIPAA and what types of penalties are levied when a covered entity or business associate is found to be non-compliant with the regulations? Many healthcare offices and their staff don’t know the answer to this question; they have only a vague notion about the enforcement and the consequences of not adhering to the law. The real HIPAA enforcement agency is the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR). Complaints are filed with the OCR, and they are responsible for administering, investigating and enforcing the HIPAA privacy standards. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) enforce the code…

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Five Steps to HIPAA Security Compliance

The health insurance portability and accountability act has set various guidelines, which should be adhered to by anyone who handles any electronic medical data. These guidelines stipulate that all medical practices must ensure that all necessary measures are in place while saving, accessing and sharing any electronic medical data to keep patient data secure . Lack of compliance to the HIPAA security standards could lead to large fines and in extreme cases even loss of medical licenses. Several steps can be followed by medical practices to ensure compliance to HIPAA standards. These steps include: Run a complete risk assessment of the medical practice Some medical practices adopted electronic health recording…

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Dentists: Don’t Forget HIPAA Compliance

Since the inception of HIPAA in 1996, its broad implications have affected all areas of health care including dentistry. And, if asked, most dentists and their staff would say they know what the HIPAA regulations are, and yes, they have been trained, but are they really up to date with HIPAA’s ever expanding changes and compliance requirements?  Are they trained in the areas of HIPAA Security, Privacy, Enforcement and Breach Notification Rules and do they know that they must be in compliance with the 2013 HIPAA Omnibus Final Rule by September 23, 2013? Compared to the ever-growing size of medical practices today, most dental offices are still rather small with…

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HHS Publishes Technical Corrections to January 25, 2013, HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Enforcement Rules

June 7, 2013.  Today, HHS published in the Federal Register “Technical Corrections to the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Enforcement Rules” that were published on January 25, 2013, as 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.” According to the “Summary“ in today’s Corrections Final Rule:  “These technical corrections address certain inadvertent errors and omissions in the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Enforcement Rules that are located at 45 CFR parts 160 and 164. The effective date of the Corrections Final…

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HIPAA Final Rule: Today is Effective Date–Covered Entities and Business Associates Have 180 Days to Comply

March 26, 2013.  Today is the first big milestone since the January 25, 2013, publication in the Federal Register of 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. Today is the effective date of the Final Rule, and covered entities and business associates must comply by September 23, 2013. “Significant rules (defined by Executive Order 12866) and major rules (defined by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act) are required to have a 60 day delayed effective date,” which…

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HIPAA Final Rule: More on Uses and Disclosures of Protected Health Information of Decedents

Today, we continue 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 yesterday was on the modified rule: 45 CFR 164.502(f): Standard:  Deceased individuals. Today, we finish up with a related modified…

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HIPAA Final Rule: Business Associate Definition

February 7, 2013.  Today, we provide the business associate definition, as modified by 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. Business Associate:  Definition (78 Federal Register 5688)– “(1) Except as provided in paragraph (4) of this definition, business associate means, with respect to a…

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HIPAA Final Rule: Breach Notification Guidance Safe Harbor

January 30, 2013.  Today, we look at the definition of unsecured protected health information and the Guidance Specifying the Technologies and Methodologies that Render Protected Health Information Unusable , Unreadable, or Indecipherable to Unauthorized Individuals [“Guidance”] as discussed in the January 25, 2013 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]; Other Modifications to the HIPAA Rules.  The Final Rule becomes effective on March 26, 2013, and requires compliance by covered entities and business associates on September 23, 2013. Here is the definition of unsecured protected health information: “protected health information that is…

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Final HIPAA/HITECH Act Privacy, Security, Enforcement, Breach Notification Rules Published in Federal Register January 25, 2013.

January 25, 2013.  The Final Rule is published, at last!  Modifications to the HIPAA Privacy, Security, Enforcement, and Breach Notification Rules Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act; Other Modifications to the HIPAA Rules; Final Rule cleared the Office of Management and Budget on January 16, was issued online on the Federal Register’s Electronic Public Inspection Desk in pre-publication format on January 17, and published in the Federal Register today.  The Final Rule is 136 pages (pp.5566-5702).  The effective date of the Final Rule is Tuesday, March 26, 2013, and the compliance date is Monday, September 23, 2013. Here is the…

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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…

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