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Health care providers and entities handle volumes of patient medical information and have to do so in a way that doesn’t violate HIPAA and state privacy laws. HIPAA is a very complicated regulatory set of laws and protocols, with numerous requirements that have to be met. Our team of HIPAA lawyers can help you navigate and understand the complicated rules and we can help you develop policies and procedure that ensure your entity becomes compliant. Once the initial HIPAA policies are put in place, many of our clients continue to use our HIPAA law firm as a resource for training their employees. Often, our HIPAA attorneys regularly assist in helping providers resolve HIPAA compliance issues that may come up. Our HIPAA compliance law firm services physicians, health plans, and all forms of health care entities.
At Raiser & Kenniff, PC, our team HIPAA compliance lawyers have counseled providers and business entities of all sizes when it comes to HIPAA privacy rules.
In 1996, HIPAA was passed to address health care issues addressing privacy, security, and electronic transactions. Any healthcare provider submits claims electronically is required to comply with HIPAA rules. Both health plans, and billing companies, are required to comply with these rules. The HIPAA privacy rule puts restrictions on uses and disclosures of health information. All information that is maintained, or created, by a health care provider is considered protected health information – under HIPAA purposes. The HIPAA privacy rules put forth conditions in which patient information can be can be used within the provider’s scope of responsibilities, or can be disclosed by a provider to outside parties. Protected health information can only be used in the context of treatment options, payment, and health care operations. For uses other than treating the patient, handling payment and operations – the provider has to get a signed authorization which complies with all the HIPAA privacy regulations. Protected health information can be disclosed when required by the law. HIPAA rules also give your patient certain rights – including the right to inspect and copy their records. In addition the information can be amended, clients also have the right to request restrictions on the use and disclosure of a patient’s protected information. The client also has the right to file written complaints with the government.
In order to be compliant with HIPAA, all entities have to appoint a HIPAA privacy offer who oversees HIPAA compliance. It’s mandatory that any entity have a written HIPAA policy and procedures and that all employees be trained on these policies. If you need one drafted, our HIPAA compliance lawyers can help.
HIPAA Security rule protects health information which is in electronic form. Such information is also known as EPHI. Most healthcare providers have EPHI in electronic form, either in EHR’s or through billing/lab systems. The HIPAA security rule is both technical and administrative. Even if you purchase an EHR which is marked HIPAA compliant – there are other steps which have to be taken. The HIPAA security rule requires that someone take responsibility for compliance and continues oversight and development of policies and procedures pertaining to compliance. One of the key components of the HIPAA security rule is conducting security risk analysis which makes it so that entities identify risks within their entity.
The HITECH Act is a part of the ARRA of 2009. It increased penalties for noncompliance and required periodic audits of health care providers. As a result, the office of civil rights has been training attorney generals to bring actions, and enforce HIPAA. The HITECH Act also resulted in additional regulations which require more extensive disclosure for entities that maintain an EHR. It revised the marketing provisions of HIPPA in order to prohibit certain communications without giving patients a notification or the right to opt out.
One of the most important revisions of HIPAA resulting from the HITECH Act was the addition of the Breach Notification Rule. It requires entities to report breaches of the HIPAA rules to individuals, the government, and in some cases – the media. A breach is when there is significant risk of financial, reputation, or other harm to the individual. Our HIPAA compliance lawyers in NYC can help you ensure a proper breach notification program is in place. Here are factors taken into account when understanding whether a breach has occurred:
-Identity of the entity or individual was released without permission
-Steps were taken to mitigate the harm from the release, and they were taken very quickly
-Information was returned before being accessed
-Type of information, and the amount of information disclosed
If an entity determines that information was disclosed as a part of a breach, then each affected individual must be contacted without delay, no later than 60 days of the incident. The notice has to include information, as directed by regulations
If less than 10 people are affected for whom there is out-of-date information, then a substitute notice can be sent to the individuals by telephone or other means. If more than 10 people have out-of-date information, then the entity has to be send out a notice of beach on it’s website, or it has to publish a notice in print, or some other medium in a major news outlet in the geographic area. The notice should remain posted for at least 90 days, and has to include a toll free number that can be called. If more than 500 people were impacted, then the entity has to be publish a breach of notification in a prominent media outlet. Regardless of the number of people impacted by the breach, it must be reported via the OCR within 60 days.
Its a law passed in 1996 that handles a lot of topics pertinent to health care. It’s most well known for the privacy and security requirements. In 2009, HIPPA Privacy and Security provisions were revised as a part of the HITECH Act, which was part of the 2009 ARRA. HIPAA privacy and security rules apply to all covered entities. That means healthcare plans, providers who transmit information in electronic form, and healthcare clearinghouses.
What information is covered
Protected health information, is individually identified health information transmitted in any format. All information specific to an individual, and held by a covered entity, is considered protected health information. The rules