Health Information Management

ONC issues HITECH operating plan

HIM-HIPAA Insider, May 26, 2009

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On May 18, the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) issued an operating plan that details implementation dates that meet statutory requirements for various provisions outlined in ARRA and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. Upcoming dates to mark on your calendars include the following:

  • August 18: Date by which the Office for Civil Rights and the Federal Trade Commission must issue interim final regulations to implement breach notification for HIPAA covered entities and business associates
  • May 1–August 26: Period during which HHS must complete standards draft rule/regulatory impact analysis
  • August 26–September 25: Period during which HHS must clear standards rule
  • September 25–December 24: Period during which standards rule must clear the Office of Management and Budget (up to 90 day process)
  • December 24–25: Period during which HHS must publish standards rule in Federal Register

Although the operating plan doesn’t provide any definitive guidance regarding meaningful use, it does state the following:

The Recovery Act authorizes that incentive payments may be made to eligible professionals and hospitals that are using EHRs in a meaningful way. Specific understanding of what constitutes meaningful use will be determined through a process that will include broad stakeholder input and discussion. HHS is developing milestones for major phases of the program’s activities with planned delivery dates. 

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