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HIPAA Changes Taking Effect; Are You Ready?

hipaa changesWith the HIPAA changes taking effect in September of 2013, many health care providers are scrambling to update notices and policies to become compliant. One such notice that needs to be updated is the Notice of Privacy Practices.

Attorney Nicole Stratton was quoted in Physician Risk Management discussing HIPAA regulations in the article below titled "New HIPAA Regs: Proper Privacy Notices Needed."

If physicians don't provide an updated privacy notice as required by new regulations, physicians could be accused of violating HIPAA by the government or the state attorney general. "If you or your office has a Notice of Privacy Practices that has not been updated since January 25, 2013, you need to update it," says Nicole E. Stratton, JD, an attorney at Foster Swift Collins & Smith in Lansing, MI.

Physicians are only required to distribute these new Notices of Privacy Practices to new patients. "However, many are distributing their new Notices of Privacy Practices to current patients as well, so every patient has the latest information about their privacy rights," says Stratton.

Everything in prior Notice of Privacy Practices is still required, along with these additional items:

  • Information related to an individual's right to notification after a breach;
  • Descriptions of uses and disclosures requiring authorization (such as psychotherapy notes, marketing, and sale of medical information);
  • A statement indicating that individuals have a right to restrict certain disclosures of medical information to a health plan where the individual pays for the service entirely out of pocket;
  • A statement that individuals have a right to opt out of fundraising communications.

The final regulations made penalties steeper, with the potential of fines of up to $1.5 million for all violations of the same HIPAA requirement or prohibition.

"Additionally, there is no maximum limit on the amount of fines per year. It all depends on how many different kinds of violations are found," says Stratton. (For examples of the notices of privacy practices that must be furnished to patients, go to http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/modelnotices.html.)

If you have any questions related to HIPAA compliance please contact Nicole Stratton at nstratton@fosterswift.com

Source: Physician Risk Management, formerly published by AHC Media, Atlanta. Phone: (800) 688-2421. Email: customerservice@ahcmedia.com. Web: www.ahcmedia.com.

Categories: HIPAA

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Best Lawyers® 2021

Congratulations to the attorneys of the Health Care practice group at Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC for their inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America 2021 edition. Firm-wide, 44 lawyers were listed. Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation and as lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Health Care practice group members listed in Best Lawyers are as follows:

To see the full list of Foster Swift attorneys listed in Best Lawyers 2021, click here.