3 Tips For HIPAA Privacy Officers

Dom Nicastro, September 7, 2010

The HIPAA compliance world awaits two major final rules per HITECH—the breach notification final rule and the rule that covers modifications to the privacy, security and enforcement rules.

But that’s no reason to sit idle.

Here are a few tips for HIPAA privacy and security officers as they await the final rules:

1. Focus on business associates (BAs) and contracts with them. CEs need to be certain that they have identified all of their BAs and that they are bound by BA agreements, says John C. Parmigiani, MS, BES, president of John C. Parmigiani & Associates, LLC, in Ellicott City, MD.

HITECH made BAs subject to compliance with the HIPAA Security Rule and the use and disclosure provisions of the HIPAA Privacy Rule.

The proposed rule makes it clear that HIPAA and HITECH apply to BAs and require them to comply with most of the same rules as CEs. If they haven’t done so already, CEs must review their BA agreements to ensure that they include appropriate language, says Phyllis A. Patrick, MBA, FACHE, CHC, cofounder and managing director of AP Health Care Compliance Group, which has offices in Pittsburgh and Purchase, NY.

Janice Simmons Janice Simmons is a senior editor and Washington, DC, correspondent for HealthLeaders Media Online. She can be reached at jsimmons@healthleadersmedia.com.
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