In July 2010, HHS or the US Department of Health and Human Services published several amendments to existing privacy, security and the implementation of rules that are part of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996). These included proposed changes to the conditions set as part of the HITECH Act to allow the parties to update HIPAA standards and changes in 45 CFR Parts 160 and 164.
Changes related to 45 CFR Parts 160 and 164
45 CFR Parts 160 and 164 refer to the standards referred to in the privacy principle of maintaining the integrity of Protected Health Information (PHI) for all covered entities. This standard of the Privacy Rule mandates how PHI should be protected and exceptional situations where it can be shared. The proposed amendments include changes in patient access to PHI. The HITECH Act in its original emphasis on the importance of the individual can access his phi. This means that the patient can demand a copy of PHI his, provided he is able to provide clear and specific request for the same. The proposed amendments expand on this. Analyses parties would have to maintain an electronic Phi that would allow patients to easily access an electronic copy of their information in a formal request.
Changes related Becoming Compliant with HIPAA Standards
1. Changes in accordance Date
HITECH was active in most states from February 2010 although the date had many legitimate exceptions. The proposed change means that all covered entities are given extra 180 days after the date of the update to the ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) standards.
2. The creation of a transitional period
HHS proposed providing transitional period where covered entities and business associates are allowed to make changes to their contracts / agreements. The transitional period does not apply to anyone under contract and business associates. Only those with a contract for the publication of final regulations in accordance with the provisions of the previous Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 would be eligible for this.