Health Information Management

Looking back at key HIPAA changes under 2009 law

HIM-HIPAA Insider, March 17, 2014

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The HITECH Act, which included changes to the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules, was signed into law by President Obama in February 2009-a full five years ago. We know the changes by now: stricter breach notification requirements, stiffer enforcement and harsher penalties for noncompliance, required auditing by privacy and security government enforcers, and publicity for large patient information breaches.
And, of course, there's the requirement to loop in business associates (BA) and their subcontractors to comply with the HIPAA Security Rule and the use and disclosure provisions of the HIPAA Privacy Rule.
"[I’m] not sure it changed the overall intent of HIPAA compliance," says Dena Boggan, CPC, CMC, CHPC, HIPAA privacy and security officer at St. Dominic Jackson (Miss.) Memorial Hospital. "But HITECH did strengthen quite a few of HIPAA's provisions by inserting accountability throughout the healthcare community."
But in essence, did all that much change? Not according to Frank Ruelas, MBA, principal for HIPAA College in Casa Grande, Ariz., and a current compliance officer at an Arizona hospital. "A lot of people were questioning what this all meant when HITECH came out," Ruelas says. "There was nothing groundbreaking in HITECH really. It just brought forth the whole breach notification process. Other things like out-of-pocket paying restrictions and things of that nature-that was the little stuff that's almost overlooked now."
Continue reading "Looking back at key HIPAA changes under 2009 law" on the HCPro website. Subscribers to Briefings on HIPAA have free access to this article in the March issue. The article is available for purchase for non-subscribers.



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