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…

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Senate Passes American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA)

Tuesday afternoon the Senate passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the so-called Economic Stimulus bill. Previously, the House of Representatives passed its version, H.R. 1. Now, the joint House-Senate conference committee will resolve funding and language differences in the House and Senate versions of ARRA. As we have noted earlier, each of these versions contains incentives for adoption of health information technologies, which are described in the so-called HITECH provisions of the House and Senate versions. President Obama is expected to sign a reconciled bill in the near future, assuming that the Democrats in the Senate can achieve at least 60 votes in a procedural motion to move the…

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US House of Representatives Passes SCHIP

After earlier Senate passage, the US House of Representatives passed the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) Wednesday afternoon, and President Obama signed a reauthorized SCHIP into law a few hours later. SCHIP is expected to cover additional millions of uninsured children in coming years, funded by an increase in tobacco taxes. This law provides an opportunity to spur implementation of health information technology in pediatric practices by tying a requirement in the HITECH legislation presently before the Senate that pediatricians begin at a date in the near future (say January 2011) to electronically upload clinical records for newborn and infant SCHIP beneficiaries to a secure centralized database in each…

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