HHS Pulls Breach Notification Final Rule

The HIPAA Administrative Simplification; Notification in the Case of Breach Final Rule (Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) 0991-AB56) has been at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) since May 14, 2010, for Executive Order (EO) 12866 review and approval prior to publication in the Federal Register. On July 28, 2010, HHS “withdrew” this Final Rule, with the following explanation:

“The Interim Final Rule for Breach Notification for Unsecured Protected Health Information, issued pursuant to the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, was published in the Federal Register on August 24, 2009, and became effective on September 23, 2009. During the 60-day public comment period on the Interim Final Rule, HHS received approximately 120 comments.

HHS reviewed the public comment on the interim rule and developed a final rule, which was submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for Executive Order 12866 regulatory review on May 14, 2010.  At this time, however, HHS is withdrawing the breach notification final rule from OMB review to allow for further consideration, given the Department’s experience to date in administering the regulations.  This is a complex issue and the Administration is committed to ensuring that individuals’ health information is secured to the extent possible to avoid unauthorized uses and disclosures, and that individuals are appropriately notified when incidents do occur.  We intend to publish a final rule in the Federal Register in the coming months.”

You may follow developments with this Final Rule at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Web site, and HIPAA.com will bring you updates as well.

Stay tuned!

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