Health Information Management

HITECH Act: Understand the changes to BA agreements

HIM-HIPAA Insider, May 5, 2009

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President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009—specifically Title XIII, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act—promises to improve the quality of patient care and the patient experience with provisions that:

  • Increase the power of HIPAA and the privacy and security rules
  • Limit certain uses and disclosures of PHI
  • Increase patient rights in regard to controlling their PHI
  • Mandate breach notification

But perhaps the biggest changes are the new responsibilities and penalties for business associates (BA). The once-debatable legal responsibilities of BAs have been set in stone in the effort to protect PHI. The changes will affect all future BA agreements, but it is unclear whether BA agreements already in effect will be grandfathered in.

Editor’s note: To read more about BA agreements or to purchase a copy of this article for $10, visit the HCPro Web site. Subscribers to Briefings on HIPAA have access to this article in the May issue of the newsletter.



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