HIPAA Privacy Compliance Agreement for Business Associates - Complying with the HITECH Privacy Provisions
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The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) is concerned with defining the requirements for being compatible with the security and privacy regulations of the Privacy Rule. The HITECH Act can be understood as a regulatory measure that has been introduced in anticipation of the sudden rise in the volume of healthcare practices adopting Electronic Health Records (EHRs) due to lucrative financial incentives offered by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).
The Privacy Rule lays down the standards that should be followed to become HIPAA-compliant but it is the HITECH Act that elaborates on the criticality of following these norms and lays down enforcement, accountability, penalty and persecution-related guidelines for those involved in sharing or accessing PHI.
With the change in the HITECH privacy provisions of ARRA, the business associate now has responsibility and liability directly for a breach. A breach requires notification, which is triggered when there is an incident of "unsecured protected health information."
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