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U.S. Health Department unveils new HIPAA rules
From: Erica Absetz <eabsetz () opensecurityfoundation org>
Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2013 10:30:04 -0500

http://www.scmagazine.com/us-health-department-unveils-new-hipaa-rules/article/277080/

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has
announcedupdated rules that will extend security and privacy
requirements to so-called business associates, those contractors and
subcontractors, such as billing companies, that perform services on
behalf of a health care provider.

The amended Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
(HIPAA) Privacy and Security rules, which formalize many of the
statutory changes already made in the 2009 Health Information
Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act), also
increase penalties for non-compliance to $1.5 million per violation.
In addition, the rules clarify the requirements of when data breaches
must be reported to HHS.

Business associates are responsible for a majority of the nation's
health care data-loss incidents, according to HHS.

“These changes not only greatly enhance a patient's privacy rights and
protections, but also strengthen the ability of my office to
vigorously enforce the HIPAA privacy and security protections,
regardless of whether the information is being held by a health plan,
a health care provider, or one of their business associates," HHS
Office for Civil Rights Director Leon Rodriguez said in a news
release.

The new rules are set to take affect March 26, although business
associates will have until Sept. 23 to comply.
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