Exploring HIPAA and HITECH Act Definitions: Part 12

From now through December, HIPAA.com is providing a run through of HIPAA transaction & code set, privacy, and security definitions, along with relevant HITECH Act definitions pertaining to breach notification, securing of protected health information, and electronic health record (EHR) standards development and adoption. These definitions are key to understanding the referenced HIPAA and HITECH Act enabling regulations that are effective now and that will require compliance by covered entities and business associates now or in the months ahead, as indicated in HIPAA.com’s timeline. Each posting will contain three definitions, with a date reference to the Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), or statute, as appropriate.

Exploring HIPAA and HITECH Act Definitions:  Parts 11-15, include definitions from:

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (February 17, 2009, pp.258-259),

Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act,

Title XIII—Health Information Technology,

Subtitle D—Privacy,

Section 13400—Definitions.


The terms ‘disclose’ and ‘disclosure’ have the meaning given the term ‘disclosure’ in section 160.103 of title 45, Code of Federal Regulations [CFR]:

“The release, transfer, provision of, access to, or divulging in any other manner of information outside the entity holding the information.”

Electronic Health Record

An electronic record of health-related information on an individual that is created, gathered, managed, and consulted by authorized health care clinicians and staff.

Health Care Operations

Has the meaning given such term in section 164.501 of title 45, Code of Federal Regulations [CFR]:

“Health care operations means any of the following activities of the covered entity to the extent that the activities are related to covered functions:

(1) Conducting quality assessment and improvement activities, including outcomes evaluation and development of clinical guidelines, provided that the obtaining of generalizable knowledge is not the primary purpose of any studies resulting from such activities; population-based activities relating to improving health or reducing health care costs, protocol development, case management and care coordination, contacting of health care providers and patients with information about treatment alternatives; and related functions that do not include treatment;

(2) Reviewing the competence or qualifications of health care professionals, evaluating practitioner and provider performance, health plan performance, conducting training programs in which students, trainees, or practitioners in areas of health care learn under supervision to practice or improve their skills as health care providers, training of non-health care professionals, accreditation, certification, licensing, or credentialing activities.

(3) Underwriting, premium rating, and other activities relating to the creation, renewal or replacement of a contract of health insurance or health benefits, and ceding, securing, or placing a contract for reinsurance of risk relating to claims for health care (including stop-loss insurance and excess of loss insurance), provided that the requirements of § 164.514(g)[1] are met, if applicable;

(4) Conducting or arranging for medical review, legal services, and auditing functions, including fraud and abuse detection and compliance programs;

(5) Business planning and development, such as conducting cost-management and planning-related analyses related to managing and operating the entity, including formulary development and administration, development or improvement of methods of payment or coverage policies; and

(6) Business management and general administrative activities of the entity, including, but not limited to:

(i) Management activities relating to implementation of and compliance with requirements of this subchapter;

(ii) Customer service, including the provision of data analyses for policy holders, plan sponsors, or other customers, provided that protected health information is not disclosed to such policy holder, plan sponsor, or customer;

(iii) Resolution of internal grievances;

(iv) The sale, transfer, merger, or consolidation of all or part of the covered entity with another covered entity, or an entity that following such activity will become a covered entity and due diligence related to such activity; and

(v) Consistent with the applicable requirements of § 164.514,[2] creating de-identified health information or a limited data set, and fundraising for the benefit of the covered entity.”

[1] “(g) Standard:  Uses and disclosures for underwriting and related purposes.  If a health plan receives protected health information for the purpose of underwriting, premium rating, or other activities relating to the creation, renewal, or replacement of a contract of health insurance or health benefits, and if such health insurance or health benefits are not placed with the health plan, such health plan may not use of disclose such protected health information for any other purpose, except, as may be required by law.”

[2] “Other requirements relating to uses and disclosures of protected health information.”

Comments on “Exploring HIPAA and HITECH Act Definitions: Part 12”

  1. How does hipaa works with DDS
    If you going into the dentist and there is your teeth on the scene and when people pass by your room they can see it on the screen. Is that a violation of your rights.

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