On January 17, 2013, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued an advance copy of the final omnibus rule which implements changes to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, and the regulations thereunder (HIPAA). Specifically, the final rule includes: final modifications to the HIPAA regulations mandated by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act); final changes to the HIPAA Enforcement Rule related to increased and tiered civil money penalties; final modifications to the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule; and final modifications to the HIPAA privacy regulations as required by the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). These four final rules were packaged into the final omnibus rule to "reduce the impact and number of times certain compliance activities need to be undertaken by the regulated entities."

The final rule will become effective March 26, 2013, with HIPAA covered entities and business associates obligated to comply with the relevant new requirements by September 23, 2013.

For more information, click here. The rule will be published in the Federal Register on January 25, 2013.

We will provide a detailed review soon and will be holding a webinar on the new rule in the next few weeks. Stay tuned for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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