KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Administration Unveils New Set Of Medical Privacy Rules

The Obama administration released a new set of rules and protections designed to govern patient privacy under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.

Medpage Today: New HIPAA Rules Fortify Patient Privacy
Addressing 15 years of digital advances in health record information, the Department of Health and Human Services released stronger rules and protections governing patient privacy last week. The long-awaited rules enhance the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), which governs health records and patient information. HHS is expanding the government's scope over health care providers, health plans, and other entities that process health insurance claims to include their contractors and subcontractors -- "business associates" -- with whom they share protected health information. … The new rules increase penalties for noncompliance to a maximum of $1.5 million per violation. The changes also strengthen the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) breach notification requirements by making clear when breaches must be reported to HHS (Struck, 1/21).

The Associated Press: Medical Privacy Rules Get An Update
Those medical privacy rules you run into at hospitals, pharmacies and in your own doctor's office are getting an update. Regulations unveiled this week by the Obama administration create new information rights that should make life easier for consumers (Alonso-Zaldivar, 1/18).

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