Today HHS released the long-awaited modifications to the HIPAA privacy, security, enforcement and breach notification rules.  A full copy of the rule can be found here.

In a related press release HHS described the impact of the rule as follows:

“The changes in the final rule making provide the public with increased protection and control of personal health information.  The HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules have focused on health care providers, health plans and other entities that process health insurance claims.  The changes announced today expand many of the requirements to business associates of these entities that receive protected health information, such as contractors and subcontractors. Some of the largest breaches reported to HHS have involved business associates. Penalties are increased for noncompliance based on the level of negligence with a maximum penalty of $1.5 million per violation. The changes also strengthen the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Breach Notification requirements by clarifying when breaches of unsecured heath information must be reported to HHS.”

If you have questions related to the new HIPAA rules please contact Dave Schoolcraft or Elana Zana.