HIPAA Minimum Necessary Standard Should Be Key Component of Policies and Procedures, Now More Than Ever

The HIPAA Rules require that when a HIPAA-covered entity (a provider, plan or clearinghouse) or a business associate of a covered entity uses or discloses protected health information (“PHI”), or when it requests PHI from another covered entity or business associate, the covered entity or business associate must make “reasonable efforts to limit protected health information to the minimum necessary to accomplish the intended purpose of the use, disclosure, or request.”

Click here to read more about the HIPAA “minimum necessary” standard—one of the most essential, yet vague, aspects of the HIPAA Rules.

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Overview of 2013 Amendments to HIPAA Privacy, Security, Breach Notification and Enforcement Rules

The 2013 Amendments include a number of sweeping changes to the HIPAA Rules, including the expansion of the definition of a business associate to include their subcontractors that handle protected health information (“PHI”); a lower threshold for determining whether a breach has occurred for reporting purposes; and restrictions on “marketing” activities and the “sale” of PHI.

Click here to read this Overview Summary of the 2013 Amendments. Duane Morris is issuing a series of Alerts on the 2013 Amendments. Please see the in-depth Alerts already distributed by the firm on changes under the 2013 Amendments to the definition of a business associate and changes to the breach notification requirements. We will continue to issue Alerts on discrete HIPAA topics.

New HIPAA Breach Notification Rule May Prove Costly for HIPAA-Covered Entities

One of the most significant changes in the final HIPAA amendments is the Breach Notification Rule, which modifies and clarifies the definition of “breach” and the risk-assessment approach required for breach notification. In light of this heightened standard, covered entities, business associates and downstream contractors should consider carefully reviewing their breach notification policies and procedures, training materials and contractual arrangements in an effort to avoid potential liability under the Breach Notification Rule.

Click here for more information on the most significant changes to the Breach Notification Rule.

Final HIPAA Amendments Expand HIPAA Net: Business Associates Now Required to Enter into Business Associate Agreements with Subcontractors

Among the most significant changes of the Final HIPAA amendments are the provisions that extend the Privacy and Security Rules’ stringent compliance obligations to business associates (BA) and expand the definition of BAs to include subcontractors of BAs. Why the changes? The HITECH Act of 2009 specifically extends direct liability to BAs and expands the list of obligations for BAs. The Department of Health & Human Services extends BA obligations even further to ensure the privacy and security of all PHI throughout the HIPAA ecosystem.

Click here to read a summary of the key provisions under the 2013 amendments, as well as factors that may be worthwhile for covered entities and business associates to consider in light of these amendments.

Expansion of CMS Never Events: They’re Not Just For Medicare Or Just For Hospitals Anymore

Expansion of CMS Never Events: They’re Not Just For Medicare Or Just For Hospitals Anymore

In 2005 when “Never Events” were proposed for hospitals through the Deficit Reduction Act, no one knew what the overall effect would be on hospitals or patient care. CMS later developed these and implemented these Never Events under the authority of the DRA to prevent Medicare payment to hospitals for certain “never events” or hospital acquired conditions (HACs) which were conditions that were high volume, involved higher payment, and which could be easily preventable. Now, hospitals and other health care providers have to worry about Never Events in the Medicaid space.

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