To comply with the HITECH breach notice requirements, HIPAA covered entities are required to report all small breaches of unsecured protected health information (“PHI”) that occurred in calendar year 2012 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by this Friday, March 1, 2013. Breach of unsecured PHI is an incident which involves acquisition, access, use or disclosure of PHI in a manner not permitted under the HIPAA privacy rules and which compromises the security or privacy of such PHI. A small breach of unsecured PHI is a breach which involves less than 500 individuals. Those incidents must be reported to the affected individuals no later than 60 days after the breach is discovered and to the Office of Civil Rights no later than 60 days after the calendar year in which the breach occurred (i.e., by March 1, 2013, for breaches that occurred in 2012).

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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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