Summary: Final Regulations on Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information 

October, 2002 - Greta E Cowart

A SUMMARY OF THE FINAL REGULATIONS ON THE STANDARDS FOR PRIVACY OF INDIVIDUALLY IDENTIFIABLE HEALTH INFORMATION ISSUED DECEMBER 28, 2000 AS MODIFIED BY THE FINAL REGULATIONS ISSUED ON AUGUST 14, 2002 CAVEAT: This outline summarizes the HIPAA Privacy Regulations as modified. No one should rely on this as legal advice. In every situation, the application of the rules requires careful analysis of a counsel who is familiar with your particular situation. I. Protection of Individually Identifiable Information. Act ' 262 and 42 U.S.C. '' 1171 through 1179 require the Secretary of Health and Human Services ("Secretary of HHS") to adopt standards for health plan information data and for individually identified information and to protect that information. Proposed Standards were published on November 3, 1999. Proposed standards for the security of individually identifiable health information and for electronic signatures were published on August 12, 1998. The National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics published their comments on the Proposed Standards on July 10, 2000. The final standards for electronic transactions were published on August 17, 2000 with an effective date of October 16, 2000. Modifications to the final electronic claims standards were published on May 31, 2002, modifying the standards for retail pharmacy transactions for claims, encounters and coordination of benefits. The final regulations on the standards for privacy of individually identifiable health information were published on December 28, 2000. The final regulations were similar to the original regulations in many ways and yet distinguishable in others. The Administrative Simplification Compliance Act was enacted on December 27, 2001, permitting covered entities to apply for approval to extend the compliance deadline for the electronic transaction. The Administrative Simplification Compliance Act also clarified that it did not extend the effective date for the Privacy Regulations and in fact codified the effective date for the privacy regulations. A minor modification to the final regulations was published on December 29, 2000. On March 27, 2002, Proposed Modifications to the final regulations which predominantly changed provisions related to health care providers and made some other limited changes. On August 14, 2002, final modification to the privacy regulations were issued incorporating many of the changes in the March 27, 2002 modifications and some additional modifications. This outline looks at the privacy regulations as modified by the August 14, 2002, final modifications. The Constitutionality of the privacy regulations as to whether they exceeded the legislative scope of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, as amended (“HIPAA”), and whether they violated the 1st, 4th and 10th Amendments to the Constitution was upheld.


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