Finally, HIPAA/HITECH Act Privacy, Security, Breach Notification, Enforcement Final Rules at OMB

March 24, 2012.   Today, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the Executive Office of the President showed that it had received the much-delayed Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Final Rules entitled:  Modifications to the HIPAA Privacy, Security, Enforcement, and Breach Notification Rules (RIN:  0945-AA03). Following review by OMB, the rules will be published in the Federal Register, most likely in April if OMB’s review is timely. The Abstract of the Rules reads:  “The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights will issue final rules to modify the HIPAA Privacy, Security,…

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BCBST Pays $1.5 Million to HHS to Settle Potential HIPAA Privacy and Security Violations

On March 13, 2012, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee (BCBST) agreed to a payment of $1.5 million to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and to a corrective action plan as part of a Resolution Agreement with HHS for potential violation of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy and Security Rule violations.  According to a HHS Press Release of the same date, “the enforcement action [by HHS’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR)] is the first resulting from a breach report required by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act Breach Notification Rule.” According to the HHS Press Release: “The investigation followed…

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ONC Publishes Stage 2 EHR Technology Certification Criteria NPRM

On March 7, 2012, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published in the Federal Register its notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) entitled Health Information Technology:  Standards, Implementation Specifications, and Certification Criteria for Electronic Health Record [EHR] Technology, 2014 Edition; Revisions to the Permanent Certification Program for Health Information Technology [pp. 13832-13885].  Comments to HHS may be made until 5 PM on May 7, 2012. The summary of the NPRM is included here: “Under section 3004 of the Public Health Service Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services is proposing to revise the initial set…

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CMS Publishes Stage 2 Meaningful Use Incentive Program NPRM

On March 7, 2012, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published in the Federal Register its 132-page notice of proposed rule making (NPRM):  Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Electronic Health Record Incentive Program–Stage 2.  Comments to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) may be made until 5 PM on May 7, 2012. The summary of the NPRM is included here: “This proposed rule would specify the Stage 2 criteria that eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) must meet in order to qualify for Medicare and/or Medicaid electronic health record (EHR) incentive payments.  In addition, it would specify payment adjustments under Medicare for covered…

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IFR for HIPAA EFT Standard to be Published in Federal Register January 10, 2012

HIPAA.com discussed in its preceding posting this Interim Final Rule (IFR) for “adoption of standards and operating rules for Electronic Funds Transfers (EFT) and operating rules for remittance advice…”, as required by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-148).  [124 STAT. 153] The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) completed its regulatory review on January 3, 2012, and the IFR is available for pre-publication review prior to January 10, 2012, when it will be published in the Federal Register.  The title of the IFR is: Administrative Simplification:  Adoption of Standards for Health Care Electronic Funds Transfers (EFTs) and Remittance Advice. The Summary in the pre-publication…

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IFR for EFT at OMB

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) its Interim Final Rule (IFR) for “adoption of standards and operating rules for Electronic Funds Transfers (EFT) and operating rules for remittance advice….” Following the December 15 receipt and subsequent review of the IFR by OMB, the IFR is expected to be published in the Federal Register before January 1, 2012, as required by the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-148). [124 STAT. 153] The legal authority for the IFR is Section 1104 (Administrative Simplification) of the Affordable Care Act.  Section 1104…

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OCR Announces November 2011 Start of Privacy and Security Compliance Audits

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is responsible for privacy and security enforcement under Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act provisions. OCR has announced that it is initiating compliance audits beginning this month, as authorized by the HITECH Act.  This action precedes the imminent release of the Final HIPAA/HITECH Act Privacy, Security, Breach Notification, and Enforcement Rules, expected before the end of 2011, and will strengthen enforcement and accountability for compliance with existing and forthcoming Rule modifications.   To avoid the consequences of potential penalties for non-compliance, covered entities and business…

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HHS Extends Life of Temporary EHR Technology Certification Program

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a notice in the Thursday, November 3, 2011, Federal Register that extends the life of the “temporary certification program for health information technology” beyond its expected sunset date of December 31, 2011, to at least summer 2012.  “We believe that the sunset of the temporary certification programs [ONC-Authorized Testing and Certification Bodies (ATCBs)] should be tied to the effective date of the final rule that we intend to issue in summer 2012, which is expected to adopt new and revised standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria for EHR technology in…

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HHS Publishes HITECH Act Accounting of Disclosures NPRM

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has published in the May 31, 2011, Federal Register the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) entitled HIPAA Privacy Rule Accounting of Disclosures Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (76(104), pp. 31426-31449). This NPRM is available online in pdf.  Comments on the NPRM are requested to be submitted on or before August 1, 2011.  The Summary of the NPRM with abbreviations, as noted, on p. 31426, is: “HHS is issuing this NPRM to modify the HIPAA Privacy Rule’s standard for accounting of disclosures of protected health information.  The purpose of these modifications…

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OMB Clears HITECH Act Accounting of Disclosures NPRM

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR), responsible for enforcement of the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules, will issue a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) to modify the HIPAA Privacy Rule as necessary to implement the accounting of disclosures provisions of Section 13405(c) of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) (Title XIII of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009–Public Law 111-5).  Section 13405(c) is entitled: Accounting of Certain Protected Health Information Disclosures Required if Covered Entity Uses Electronic Health Record. The NPRM was submitted on February 9, 2011, by HHS to the Office…

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