Friday, Feb 1, 2013

On Jan. 17, the Department of Health and Human Services issued an omnibus final rule to extend patient privacy and security protections under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The rule will become effective March 26, 2013, although covered entities, including covered dental practices, will have an additional 180 days (until Sept. 23) to comply with applicable requirements.

As issued, the HIPAA rule, which ADA is in the process of reviewing, will:

  • Enhance HIPAA enforcement;
  • Extend many HIPAA requirements to "business associates" such as contractors and subcontractors that receive protected health information;
  • Expand individuals' rights to receive electronic copies of their health information and to restrict disclosures to a health plan concerning treatment for which the provider has been paid out of pocket in full;
  • Modify rules that apply to marketing and fundraising communications and the sale of protected health informationExpand the definition of "health information" to include genetic information; and
  • Clarify when data breaches must be reported to the HHS Office for Civil Rights.

The final rule was published in the Jan. 25 Federal Register, the digest of government regulatory activity.

Please read the ADA News article for more coverage.