New HIPAA And HITECH Regulations Are Coming

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Staff at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' ("HHS") Office of Civil Rights, Health Information Privacy Division, stated to Duane Morris that "comprehensive HITECH regulations" will be published in the next several weeks, following final agency approval. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (the "HITECH Act," Title XIII of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) amended the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ("HIPAA") to improve and expand current federal privacy and security protections for protected health information ("PHI"). The HITECH Act requires the Secretary of HHS to interpret key provisions through regulations. Since most of the HITECH Act's HIPAA amendments are effective on February 17, 2010, providers, group health plans, business associates and others have been awaiting these regulations in order to make any necessary changes to their HIPAA programs by the compliance deadline. Based on the act, the regulations are likely to address....

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