Therapists Now Required to Notify Individuals of Health Information Breaches

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a rule requiring that individuals be notified of breaches of their health information. 

These “breach notification” regulations implement provisions of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, passed as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

The regulations, developed by the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR), require health care providers and other HIPAA covered entities to promptly notify affected individuals of a breach, as well as the HHS Secretary and the media in cases where a breach affects more than 500 individuals.  Breaches affecting fewer than 500 individuals will be reported to the HHS Secretary on an annual basis. The regulations also require business associates of covered entities to notify the covered entity of breaches at or by the business associate. 

The regulations were developed after considering public comment received in response to an April 2009 request for information and after close consultation with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which has issued companion breach notification regulations that apply to vendors of personal health records and certain others not covered by HIPAA.

To determine when information is “unsecured” and notification is required by the HHS and FTC rules, HHS is also issuing in the same document as the regulations an update to its guidance specifying encryption and destruction as the technologies and methodologies that render protected health information unusable, unreadable, or indecipherable to unauthorized individuals.  Entities subject to the HHS and FTC regulations that secure health information as specified by the guidance through encryption or destruction are relieved from having to notify in the event of a breach of such information.  This guidance will be updated annually.

The HHS interim final regulations are effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register and include a 60-day public comment period.  For more information, visit the HHS Office for Civil Rights web site at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/

Chart Links at ASHA Booth #962

November 19, 2008 · Posted in Documentation, Outcomes, Speech Therapy · Comment 

Chart Links will exhibit at the 2008 Annual American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Convention at McCormick Place West in Chicago, Illinois on November 20-22, 2008 in booth #962.

Stop by to see John Rea or Robert Stafford and see our speech therapy documentation tools. Our rehab software streamlines the daily clinical and administrative tasks in a large speech and hearing clinic:

  • Therapy Scheduling
  • Patient Arrival Notification
  • Referral Management
  • Authorizations
  • Speech Therapy Documentation (plan of care, progress notes, evaluations)
  • Speech-Language Pathology Patient Education
  • Speech Therapy Marketing
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Etc.

Learn more about our speech therapy software and rehab software in general.

For a complete listing of tradeshows at which Chart Links will exhibit please view our tradeshow schedule.