On July 14, 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) published proposed regulations (the “Proposed Rule”) that will implement modifications to the HIPAA Privacy, Security and Enforcement Rules under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (“HITECH Act”), enacted on February 17, 2009.
The long-anticipated proposed regulations, when finalized later this year, will implement the HITECH Act’s expansion of the HIPAA Privacy, Security and Enforcement Rules to directly apply them to Business Associates (those persons and entities which perform services for or on behalf of Covered Entities and that have access to, create, receive or use or disclose Protected Health Information (“PHI”)). Business Associates and Covered Entities will be required to comply with the new regulations within 180 days (6 months) after the effective date of the Final Rule, and to amend or replace their existing Business Associate Agreements at the earliest renewal or modification which occurs during an 18-month contract transition period calculated from the effective date of the Final Rule. Comments on the Proposed Rule will be accepted for 60 days, until September 13, 2010.
A few of the more significant changes contained in the Proposed Rule are summarized as follows:
It will likely be several months before these regulations are finalized and compliance dates established, but Covered Entities and Business Associates should be assessing their current level of HIPAA Privacy and Security compliance in light of HITECH Act provisions that are currently in effect. Modifications to policies, procedures, Business Associate Agreements, Notices of Privacy Practices and reasonable and appropriate encryption and other data security measures should be considered in light of these changes.
For further information, please contact any member of Baker Hostetler’s Healthcare Industry Team or Employee Benefits Group.
Authorship Credit: John S. Mulhollan
Subscribe to Baker Hostetler’s Healthcare News
Subscribe to Baker Hostetler’s Benefits Broadcast
Baker & Hostetler LLP publications are intended to inform our clients and other friends of the Firm about current legal developments of general interest. They should not be construed as legal advice, and readers should not act upon the information contained in these publications without professional counsel. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you written information about our qualifications and experience. © 2010 Baker & Hostetler LLP