HHS Issues Interim Final Rule for HITECH ‘Breach Notification’

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, has issued the Interim Final Rule for Breach Notification for Unsecured Protected Health Information.  The Interim Final Rule was signed by Secretary Sebelius on August 6, 2009, filed at the Federal Register on Wednesday, August 19, 2009, and will be published on Monday, August 24, 2009, in the Federal Register.  The effective date of the Interim Final Rule will be 30 days after publication, and will cover both covered entities and business associates of covered entities.  Here is the Summary of the Interim Final Rule: “The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is issuing this interim final rule with…


HHS Secretary Delegates to ONC Head New HITECH Act Authority

Effective August 7, 2009, and published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, August 18, 2009, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has delegated authority to the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, David Blumenthal, M.D., to administer “Subtitle B, ‘Incentives for the Use of health Information Technology,’ sections 3011 through 3017, with the exception of 3012(c)(5), the Financial Support subsection.”  These sections and titles, which appear on pages 132-144 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), signed by President Obama on February 17, 2009, available on the hipaa.com site, include: 3011 Immediate Funding to Strengthen the Health Information Technology Infrastructure,…


What’s In Your Personal Health Record?

The 800-pound gorilla at the center of health information transformation is the patient. This sleeping giant is slowly emerging from hibernation, and watch out when it wakes up. Folded into ARRA’s HITECH Act are provisions that require health care providers to “Provide patients and families with access to data, knowledge, and tools to make informed decisions and to manage their health.” If you are a caregiver, or manage a chronic disease, this policy will have a profound effect on you. While my sister and brother battled terminal aggressive cancers, it was their caregiver who carried the pharmacological list of medications, nutritional supplements, allergies, adverse reactions, near fatal overdoses, sleep patterns,…


ARRA Stimulus Funds

On Thursday, May 28, 2009, the Office of the National Coordinator released guidance on the new Health IT Regional Extension Centers (HITRC). Section 3012 of the Public Health Service Act (PHSA), as added by the HITECH Act, authorizes a Health Information Technology Extension Program to make assistance available to all providers, but with priority access to Health IT for the uninsured, underinsured, historically underserved and other special-needs populations, and use of that technology to achieve reduction in health disparities. The major focus for the Centers’ work with most of the providers that they serve will be to help to select and successfully implement certified electronic health records (EHRs). Assistance is…


HITECH Guidance & RFI

HITECH GUIDANCE & RFI 45 CFR Parts 160 and 164 AGENCY: Office of the Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services. Download (Requires Acrobat Reader)

Direct Data Entry-No Change in the 5010 Final Rule

In the August 17, 2000 Final Rule for Standards for Electronic Transactions, direct data entry was defined as “direct entry of data (for example, using dumb terminals or web browsers) that is immediately transmitted into a health plan’s computer.” [65 Federal Register 50367] An exception for direct data entry was articulated in the August 17, 2000, Final Rule: A health care provider electing to use direct data entry offered by a health plan to conduct a transaction for which a standard has been adopted under this part must use the applicable data content and data condition requirements of the standard when conducting the transaction. The health care provider is not…


Contingency Plan-What This HIPAA Security Rule Administrative Safeguard Standard Means

This is the seventh Administrative Safeguard Standard of the HIPAA Administrative Simplification Security Rule.  It has five implementation specifications:  Data backup plan; Disaster recovery plan; Emergency mode operation plan; Testing and revision procedures; and Applications and data criticality analysis.  The first three are required; the last two are addressable.  Addressable does not mean optional.  Rather, an addressable implementation specification means that a covered entity must use reasonable and appropriate measures to meet the standard.  Further, as HIPAA.com has noted earlier, business associates also will be required to comply with the Security Rule standards, effective February 17, 2010. If a fire swept through a covered entity’s facility, the covered entity would…


ARRA’s HITECH Privacy Provisions Apply HIPAA Security Rule to Business Associates

President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) on Tuesday, February 17, 2009. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) provisions of ARRA in Title XIII include important changes in Privacy (Subtitle D). Our focus in this posting is the change related to business associates under HIPAA Administrative Simplification that is specified in Section 13401: Application of Security Provisions and Penalties to Business Associates of Covered Entities. In this section, administrative, physical, and technical safeguards, and policy, procedure, and documentation requirements of the HIPAA Administrative Simplification Security Rule “shall apply to a business associate of a covered entity in the…


American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

ONE HUNDRED ELEVENTH CONGRESS of the UNITED STATES of AMERICA American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Making supplemental appropriations for job preservation and creation, infrastructure investment, energy efficiency and science, assistance to the unemployed, and State and local fiscal stabilization, for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, and for other purposes. AGENCY: 111th US Congress. ACTION: Act. Download (Requires Acrobat Reader)

President Obama to Sign ARRA’s HITECH provisions Tuesday, February 17, 2009, in Denver, CO

The Senate joined the House on Friday evening, February 13, 2009, in passing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which includes provisions relating to Health Information Technology. Title XIII of Division A and Title IV of Division B together are known as the “Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act” or the “HITECH Act.”  We will be highlighting attributes of the HITECH Act through the end of February. Contrary to the political blather, this legislation is a significant step forward in providing funding and incentives to accelerate adoption of standardized and interoperable electronic business and clinical technologies in healthcare and in strengthening privacy safeguards for patients’ protected health…