Saturday, May 30, 2009

HHS Issues Interim Final Rule to Implement the HITECH Act’s Strengthened Civil Money Penalty Scheme

October 30, 2009
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued an interim final rule today to conform the enforcement regulations promulgated under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) to currently effective statutory revisions made pursuant to the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which was enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

In this interim final rule, published today in the Federal Register, HHS amends HIPAA’s enforcement regulations that relate to the imposition of civil money penalties to incorporate the HITECH Act’s categories of violations, tiered ranges of civil money penalty amounts, and revised limitations on the Secretary’s authority to impose civil money penalties for established violations of HIPAA’s Administrative Simplification Rules. This interim final rule does not make amendments with respect to those enforcement provisions of the HITECH Act that are not yet effective under the applicable statutory provisions. This interim final rule is effective 30 days after today.

HHS has invited public comments on the interim final rule, which will be considered if received no later than 60 days after today. This interim final rule will be available for public comment at http://www.regulations.gov/.

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