Advertisement

April 16, 2014

Department of Health and Human Services "HHS" Issues Final HIPAA/HITECH Rule

The United States Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) issued its Final Rule modifying the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) privacy and security regulations pursuant to the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (“HITECH”) on January 17, 2013.  The Final Rule strengthens the privacy and security requirement of HIPAA governing protected health information (“PHI”) and gives HHS greater enforcement authority to police violations of the privacy and security requirements.  The Final Rule will require health care providers and their business associates to re-evaluate their HIPAA compliance policies and procedures to avoid potential liability for violations of HIPAA requirements.

The Final Rule is divided into four parts.  The first part strengthens the HIPAA privacy and security requirements by making business associates liable for HIPAA violations, provides patients with greater rights over their protected health information, and provides for greater limits on the use or disclosure of PHI for marketing purposes.

The second part of the Final Rule changes and increases the enforcement provisions of HIPAA and includes increased penalties for HIPAA violations.  The third part of the Final Rule addresses security breaches of PHI and places the burden on the covered entity or business associate to show that there is a low probability that PHI has been revealed, replacing the “harm” standard that HHS had previously promulgated in the Interim Final Rule that had been issued pursuant to HITECH.  The fourth part of the Final Rule modifies the HIPAA privacy provisions to comply with the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”) by forbidding health plans from using or disclosing genetic information for purposes of insurance underwriting.

With the increasing use of electronic health records, one of the most important provisions of the Final Rule concerns breach notification requirements.  The Final Rule requires covered entities to report a breach involving less than 500 persons to HHS no later than 60 days after the end of the calendar year in which the breach was discovered.  The Final Rule maintains the “safe harbor” for breach notification contained in the Interim Final Rule that protects covered entities from breach notification requirements for PHI that has been encrypted or secured in compliance with the Guidance Specifying the Technologies and Methodologies that Render Protected Health Information Unusable, Unreadable, or Indecipherable to Unauthorized Individuals that was published in the Federal Register on August 24, 2009.

Health care providers as well as their business associates need to review and revise their HIPAA compliance policies and procedures as well as their business associate agreements to ensure their compliance with all of the provisions of the Final Rule.

© 2014 by McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, PLLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Christopher J. Shaughnessy, Health Care Attorney, McBrayer Law Firm
Associate

Christopher J. Shaughnessy is an attorney at McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland, PLLC. Mr. Shaughnessy concentrates his practice area in health care and is located in the firm's Lexington office. He has extensive experience in the health care law industry. Mr. Shaughnessy represents institutions such as hospitals and nursing homes as well as individual medical professionals, including physicians, mid-level practitioners and nurses. He also represents small offices and large offices that are part of large networks. Some of the services he commonly provides are in the following...

859-554-4414

Boost: AJAX core statistics

Legal Disclaimer

You are responsible for reading, understanding and agreeing to the National Law Review's (NLR’s) and the National Law Forum LLC's  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy before using the National Law Review website. The National Law Review is a free to use, no-log in database of legal and business articles. The content and links on www.NatLawReview.com are intended for general information purposes only. Any legal analysis, legislative updates or other content and links should not be construed as legal or professional advice or a substitute for such advice. No attorney-client or confidential relationship is formed by the transmission of information between you and the National Law Review website or any of the law firms, attorneys or other professionals or organizations who include content on the National Law Review website. If you require legal or professional advice, kindly contact an attorney or other suitable professional advisor.  

Some states have laws and ethical rules regarding solicitation and advertisement practices by attorneys and/or other professionals. The National Law Review is not a law firm nor is www.NatLawReview.com  intended to be  a referral service for attorneys and/or other professionals. The NLR does not wish, nor does it intend, to solicit the business of anyone or to refer anyone to an attorney or other professional.  NLR does not answer legal questions nor will we refer you to an attorney or other professional if you request such information from us. 

Under certain state laws the following statements may be required on this website and we have included them in order to be in full compliance with these rules. The choice of a lawyer or other professional is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Attorney Advertising Notice: Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Statement in compliance with Texas Rules of Professional Conduct. Unless otherwise noted, attorneys are not certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, nor can NLR attest to the accuracy of any notation of Legal Specialization or other Professional Credentials.

The National Law Review - National Law Forum LLC 4700 Gilbert Ave. Suite 47 #230 Western Springs, IL 60558  Telephone  (708) 357-3317 If you would ike to contact us via email please click here.