HHS Strengthens HIPAA Enforcement

On Friday, October 30, 2009, HHS published in the Federal Register its Interim Final Rule that strengthens HIPAA enforcement under HITECH Act civil penalty revisions enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on February 17, 2009.  “These HITECH Act revisions significantly increase the penalty amounts the Secretary [of HHS] may impose for violations of the HIPAA rules and encourage prompt corrective action,” according to the HHS press release.  The Interim Final Rule is effective as federal policy on November 30, 2009, and HHS requests comments by December 29, 2009. With the definition of ‘breach’ in the HITECH Act moving privacy and security violations under one requirement requiring…

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CMS Issues New and Updated HIPAA and HITECH Act FAQs: EHR Incentive Payment Start Dates

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) periodically issues new and updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).  HIPAA.com will periodically reproduce new and updated Questions and Answers pertaining to HIPAA Administrative Simplification standards and implementation specifications and to HITECH Act provisions that will be of interest to its readers.  This FAQ [ID#9807] was created on June 22, 2009, and updated by CMS on August 18, 2009. Question:  When will CMS begin to pay incentives to eligible professionals and hospitals for using certified Electronic Health Records (EHRs)? Answer:  By statute [American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009], the earliest dates that CMS will be able to pay an incentive under Medicare…

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CMS Issues New and Updated HIPAA and HITECH Act FAQs: EHR Incentives

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) periodically issues new and updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).  HIPAA.com will periodically reproduce new and updated Questions and Answers pertaining to HIPAA Administrative Simplification standards and implementation specifications and to HITECH Act provisions that will be of interest to its readers.  The FAQ [ID#9844] that follows is new, published by CMS on August 13, 2009. Question:  Are physicians who practice in hospital-based ambulatory clinics eligible to receive the Recovery Act’s Medicare or Medicaid electronic health record (EHR) incentive payments. Answer:  Hospital-based eligible professionals are ineligible for the EHR incentive payments under both Medicare and Medicaid.  Our [Department of Health and Human Services] forthcoming NPRM…

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HHS Secretary Sebelius Delegates Oversight and Enforcement of HIPAA Security Rule to OCR

U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has delegated oversight and enforcement of the HIPAA Administrative Simplification Security Rule Standards for Protection of Electronic Protected Health Information to HHS’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR), effective July 27, 2009.  Since October 7, 2003, the Security Rule had been the responsibility of HHS’s Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). OCR also has responsibility for the HIPAA Administrative Simplification Privacy Rule.  This delegation brings responsibility for administrative, technical, and physical standards for safeguarding of protected health information in each rule under one authority, and likely will facilitate enforcement of the HITECH Act breach, notification, and business associate security rule compliance…

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CMS Confirms 5010 and ICD-10 Rules’ Effective Dates

In notification to the U.S. House and Senate on Thursday, March 5, 2009, Don Johnson, Acting Director, Office of Legislation of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), notified the Congress that “[i]n accordance with the White House Chief of Staff’s memorandum of January 20, 2009 entitled ‘Regulatory Review,’ a determination has been made that the effective date will not be extended and the comment period will not be reopened for either of these rules.” The effective date for each of the rules is March 17, 2009. The memorandum CMS sent to Congress follows. Beginning next Monday, March 9, HIPAA.com will have a posting daily through March 17, 2009,…

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What Should I Know About Interfaces?

A key quality of care benefit of an EHR is its ability to create, send out and track the provider’s orders and then electronically review and route the results of those orders into the patient’s record. Due to many national efforts, HL7 standard language is used to create these interfaces. When the interfaces communicate back and forth with your EMR, results can be provided to the clinician for review prior to posting into the patient record. Some specialties receive as much as 70 percent of health care information from outside sources, including information from hospitals, labs, diagnostic imaging centers, payers, referring physicians, patients and pharmacies. The most common interfaces to…

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Employer Identifier Final Rule

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Office of the Secretary 45 CFR Parts 160 and 162 | [CMS–0047–F] | RIN 0938–AI59 Health Insurance Reform: Standard Unique Employer Identifier AGENCY: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS. ACTION: Final rule. Download (Requires Acrobat Reader)