February 6, 2013

On January 25, 2013 the Federal Register published modifications to the  HIPAA Privacy, Security, Enforcement and Breach Notification Rules Under the HITECH Act and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.  What does this mean to you and your practice? It means that you will likely have to update your HIPAA policies signed by patients and also address third party arrangements with “business associates” as well as understand the changed requirements should you have a Breach, as well as understand an updated obligation on “genetic information”.   None of the changes specified are effective immediately – in fact, the changes are not effective until approximately September 23, 2013.    During this time period, and closer to now than the effective date we will do our best to educate you and also offer reasonably priced updates to your documentation.
Your first step in understanding changes to HIPAA, etc. in addition to reading this email is to participate in our webinar next Wednesday from 12-1PM explaining the new requirements. 

WHAT -   Webinar on HIPAA Privacy, Security, Enforcement and Breach Notification Rules Changes
WHEN - Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 12-1PM
ABOUT - Learn about the changes to HIPAA and other statutes and what the mean for your practice.  Participants will also receive a discount on amended policies and procedures.  Can't make the time?  The Webinar will be posted on our website or email us to send you a link. 

Changes to HIPAA and other statutes that will be discussed more fully are as follows: 

1.  Final modifications to the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Enforcement Rules mandated by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, and certain other modifications to improve the Rules, which were issued as a proposed rule on July 14, 2010.

These modifications:

  • Make business associates of covered entities directly liable for compliance with certain of the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules’ requirements.
  • Strengthen the limitations on the use and disclosure of protected health information for marketing and fundraising purposes, and prohibit the sale of protected health information without individual authorization.
  • Expand individuals’ rights to receive electronic copies of their health information and to restrict disclosures to a health plan concerning treatment for which the individual has paid out of pocket in full.
  • Require modifications to, and redistribution of, a covered entity’s notice of privacy practices.
  • Modify the individual authorization and other requirements to facilitate research and disclosure of child immunization proof to schools, and to enable access to decedent information by family members or others.
  • Adopt the additional HITECH Act enhancements to the Enforcement Rule not previously adopted in the October 30, 2009, interim final rule (referenced immediately below), such as the provisions addressing enforcement of noncompliance with the HIPAA Rules due to willful neglect.

2. Final rule adopting changes to the HIPAA Enforcement Rule to incorporate the increased and tiered civil money penalty structure provided by the HITECH Act, originally published as an interim final rule on October 30, 2009.

3. Final rule on Breach Notification for Unsecured Protected Health Information under the HITECH Act, which replaces the breach notification rule’s ‘‘harm’’ threshold with a more objective standard and supplants an interim final rule published on August 24, 2009.

4. Final rule modifying the HIPAA Privacy Rule as required by the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) to prohibit most health plans from using or disclosing genetic information for underwriting purposes, which was published as a proposed rule on October 7, 2009.