Lawyer: HITECH Regs Coming by July 8

Dom Nicastro, June 25, 2010

A healthcare lawyer brought forth the latest prediction on when HIPAA-related HITECH regulations will hit the streets—no later than July 8.

Gerald DeLoss, of counsel with Krieg DeVault LLP and a member of the firm's Health Care Practice Group, wrote in an American Health Lawyers Association listserv e-mail this week that an OCR official at a conference made that estimate on the release of the proposed rules.

He wrote that David Mayer, senior advisor for HIPAA Compliance and Enforcement at OCR, who presented at a conference this month, said the industry should expect the proposed rules on HIPAA regulations by July 8.

"As a bonus," DeLoss writes in the e-mail, "[Mayer] also stated that the regs will not require an amendment to existing [Business Associate] Agreements (to incorporate the new requirements) but that there may be very good business reasons for a new or revised BA Agreement."

OCR, in an e-mail to HealthLeaders Media today, did not verify that July 8 prediction.

"Mr. Mayer's comments may have been taken out of context," OCR wrote in the e-mail. "The department cannot predict [Office of Management and Budget's] timeframe for publication. Further, the Office for Civil Rights at HHS cannot comment on the content of the [proposed rule] before it is published."

On April 12, OCR sent proposed regulations amending the HIPAA Privacy Rule in accordance with the HITECH Act requirements to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for review (OIRA). That office is under the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Earlier this month, a consultant who attended the North Carolina Healthcare Information and Communications Alliance (NCHICA) annual conference this month, said OCR will release proposed rules around June 26.

After its sixth annual Academic Medical Center Conference in Chapel Hill, NC, Phyllis A. Patrick, MBA, FACHE, CHC, co-founder & managing director of AP Health Care Compliance Group, sent an e-mail obtained by HIPAA Weekly Advisor that reported the HITECH regulations would be released in "about two weeks or around June 26th."

Dom Nicastro Dom Nicastro is a contributing writer. He edits the Medical Records Briefings newsletter and manages the HIPAA Update Blog.
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