Five HIPAA Compliance Activities Your Organization Must Undertake

HIPAA Administrative Simplification was enacted on August 21, 1996 as Subtitle F of Title II of Public Law 104-191. The so-called HITECH Act “Omnibus” regulation that modifies HIPAA privacy and security provisions will be published in the Federal Register by the end of this summer, according to the head of HHS’ National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Farzad Mostashari, M.D. Based on the timeline in the Notice of Proposed Rule Making, compliance by all covered entities and their business associates would be required 240 days after publication, most likely sometime in May 2013, assuming the end-of-summer deadline is met.  All covered entities and their business associates will be required to comply with provisions of…

READ MORE

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…

READ MORE

Over 10 Million Individuals Now Affected by Large Data Breaches, as Reported on OCR Web site

Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act), enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, covered entities are required to report to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) any privacy or security breach affecting 500 or more individuals within 60 days of discovery of the breach by the covered entity or its business associate.  The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which is responsible for privacy and security enforcement under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and HITECH Act provisions that strengthened privacy and security enforcement, is required to post those breaches on…

READ MORE

Physical Safeguard Standard, Device and Media Controls: Medi Re-use Implementation Specification-What to Do and How to Do It

In our series on the HIPAA Administrative Simplification Security Rule, Device and Medial Controls is the fourth and last Physical Safeguard Standard.  Media Re-use is the second of four implementation specifications, and it is required.  As we have noted in earlier postings on HIPAA.com, business associates of covered entities will be required to comply with the Security Rule safeguard standards, beginning February 17, 2010.  This requirement is one of the HITECH Act provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), signed by President Obama on February 17, 2009. What to Do A covered entity must implement procedures for removal of electronic protected health information from electronic media before the…

READ MORE

Device and Media Controls: What This HIPAA Security Rule Physical Safeguard Standard Means

This is the fourth and last Physical Safeguard Standard of the HIPAA Administrative Simplification Security Rule.  It has four implementation specifications:  disposal, media re-use, accountability, and data backup and storage.  The first two 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.  As we have noted in earlier postings on HIPAA.com, business associates of covered entities will be required to comply with the Security Rule safeguard standards, beginning February 17, 2010.  This requirement is one of the HITECH Act provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act…

READ MORE

Evaluation-What This HIPAA Security Rule Administrative Safeguard Standard Means

This is the eighth Administrative Safeguard Standard of the HIPAA Administrative Simplification Security Rule. Its implementation specification is embodied in the language of the standard itself, and it is required of covered entities.  Further, as HIPAA.com has noted earlier, business associates also will be required to comply with the Security Rule standards, effective February 17, 2010, as provided for in the HITECH Act provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed by President Obama on February 17, 2009. What is Required Perform a periodic technical and non-technical evaluation, based initially upon the standards implemented under this rule and subsequently, in response to environmental or operational changes affecting the security of…

READ MORE

Contingency Plan: Emergency Mode Operation Plan-What to Do and How to Do It

In our series on the HIPAA Administrative Simplification Security Rule, this is the third implementation specification for the Administrative Safeguard Standard (Contingency Plan). This implementation specification is required. As HIPAA.com has noted in earlier postings, with enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) on February 17, 2009, business associates also will be required to comply with the Security Rule standards, effective February 17, 2010. What to Do Establish (and implement as needed) procedures to enable continuation of critical business processes for protection of the security of electronic protected health information while operating in the emergency mode. How to Do It Covered entities are required to develop…

READ MORE