Are you ready “to be directly held accountable” under HITECH?

I thought you would find this summary of HITECH to the point from the HIMSS Legal Aspects of the Enterprise Task Force, 11/24/2009 (emphasis mine):

When Congress passed the HITECH Act,1 it ushered in a new era for the federal regulation of medical information privacy and security. The legislative intent expressed in the HITECH Act represented a shift in how privacy and security laws will apply to entities defined as “business associates” under HIPAA.

Effective February 17, 2010, pursuant to the HITECH Act, many of the HIPAA standards will apply directly to business associates, and business associates will be subject to the same civil and criminal penalties as covered entities.

HITECH Act dramatically shifts how business associates are regulated. Before the HITECH Act, business associates were not directly subject to either the Privacy or Security Rules. The OCR could not investigate, penalize or recommend for prosecution any BA who had violated a provision of the Privacy or Security Rules. Any attempt to enforce HIPAA requirements by fine or prosecution could only be applied to covered entities.

The HITECH Act changes this statutory scheme. The HITECH Act expresses a clear policy that business associates are to be directly regulated and held accountable for their actions. Regulators may now directly pursue violations of the Privacy and Security Rules committed by BAs. The BAA no longer serves as the only point of access to enforcing HIPAA against business associates.

So is your firm ready or trying to get ready at least? Remember denial is not a river..and it could be very expensive.

Explore posts in the same categories: Employee Benefits, Healthcare, Healthcare Insurers

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