This posting is one of several that outline the HITECH privacy provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that President Obama signed into law on Tuesday, February 17, 2009, in Denver, CO. Here, we reproduce the definitions that appear in Subtitle D—Privacy, Section 13400. Definitions, that appear in the Conference Report on page H1345 of Congressional Record—House, February 12, 2009. These definitions are critical in understanding the content of the new HITECH privacy provisions and how they relate to existing HIPAA Administrative Simplification Privacy Rule standards.
HIPAA Privacy Definitions:
The term ‘business associate’ has the meaning given such term in section 160.103 of title 45, Code of Federal Regulations.
(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this definition, business associate means, with respect to a covered entity, a person who:
(i) On behalf of such covered entity or of an organized health care arrangement in which the covered entity participates, but other than in the capacity of a member of the workforce of such covered entity or arrangement, performs, or assists in the performance of:
(A) A function or activity involving the use or disclosure of individually identifiable health information, including claims processing or administration, data analysis, processing or administration, utilization review, quality assurance, billing, benefit management, practice management, and repricing; or
(B) Any other function or activity regulated by this subchapter; or
(ii) Provides, other than in the capacity of a member of the workforce of such covered entity, legal, actuarial, accounting, consulting, data aggregation, management, administrative, accreditation, or financial services to or for such covered entity, or to or for an organized health care arrangement in which the covered entity participates, where the provision of the services involves the disclosure of individually identifiable health information from such covered entity or arrangement, or from another business associate of such covered entity or arrangement, to the person.
(2) A covered entity participating in an organized health care arrangement that performs a function or activity as described by paragraph (1)(i) of this definition for or on behalf of such organized health care arrangement, or that provides a services as described in paragraph (1)(ii) of this definition to or for such organized health care arrangement, does not, simply through the performance of such function or activity or the provision of such service, become a business associate of other covered entities participating in such organized health care arrangement.
(3) A covered entity may be a business associate of another covered entity.