HIPAA 2023 – Latest Guidance and Compliance Focus
Recorded Webinar | Jim Sheldon Dean | From: Oct 06, 2023 - To: Dec 31, 2023
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HIPAA has seen a lot of activity recently that will affect how to address compliance in 2023, from a continuing push to provide individual access to records, enforcement actions pertaining to access and information security, and proposed changes to the regulations pertaining to access and coordination of care. Business Associate responsibilities for compliance have been better defined, and requirements for the establishment of those relationships have been relaxed in some cases for the COVID-19 emergency, but relaxations end with the end of the emergency. Healthcare communications and information systems will need to meet HIPAA requirements. Much of what has changed recently will continue to evolve in 2023
This session will look at the current state of HIPAA and identify recent guidance and court decisions affecting HIPAA, as well as expected changes in the rules in the coming year, and the focus and results of various HIPAA enforcement actions.
Over many years, the US Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights has indicated that patient access to information is a key priority in order to improve the health of the nation. Patient rights under HIPAA have been expanded to include several rights of access, and detailed guidance has been issued on access to records. And more than four dozen of HIPAA enforcement actions since September 2019 were against entities that did not provide patient access to records properly. HHS is now using HIPAA Individual Access Rights to effectively implement new rules on prohibitions to Data Blocking, and the proposed changes to the HIPAA Privacy Rule, made in December 2020, will codify the current guidance on compliance.
The rules having to do with patient access to records need to be reflected in the policies and procedures of every healthcare-related organization. The guidance provides clear and detailed information on how to provide access, what can be charged for in fees, and what the individual’s rights are when it comes to access to information. The proposed changes to the HIPAA Privacy Rule would put into regulation the access guidance, and provide new avenues for patients to request copies of their records be sent to their current providers.
At the same time, a recent Federal court decision has changed some of the aspects of the individual access rules pertaining to transmitting records to third parties at the request of the individual. Additionally, HHS has issued guidance when HIPAA Business Associates are involved, regarding the responsibility for the timing, form, and format of replies to requests for access, and the responsibilities for compliance with the fee requirements.
Information Security remains a focus for enforcement as well, with organizations that don’t take the proper steps in an information security management process finding that breaches and incidents can be expensive compliance problems. Enforcement of the Security Rule is expected to continue as a priority to protect patient information and patient safety.
In order to facilitate the delivery of services and necessary communications during the COVID-19 emergency, the US Department of Health and Human Services issued guidance relaxing some HIPAA requirements pertaining to teleconferencing tools and reiterating HIPAA allowances for communication with family and friends of patients. Now that the emergency is ending, the allowances are ending, and entities will need to follow the rules without exceptions.
This session will discuss the issues surrounding the use of various communication technologies under HIPAA controls, including a discussion of Business Associate responsibilities for compliance under new guidance from HHS. The session will prepare organizations for the impacts of likely rule changes in areas such as Accounting of Disclosures, the Notice of Privacy Practices, cell phone communications, and new technologies. Proposed changes to the Privacy Rule in areas of Care Coordination will be explored.
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