By Sheri Porter
AAFA News Now
The recently passed federal stimulus package includes changes to federal
health information privacy and security provisions under the Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, that will affect
physician practices. According to health care policy experts, however,
the extent of that impact remains to be seen.
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health, or
HITECH, Act, which is intended to promote widespread adoption of health
IT, was incorporated into the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of
2009, (Page 144; 407-page PDF; About PDFs) which was signed into law on
According to provisions in the legislation, physicians now will be
required to track any disclosure of a patient's medical information.
Previous regulations allowed physicians to disclose patient information
for the purpose of treatment, payment or health care operations, but
they were not required to track when that information was disclosed.
However, the new legislation requires physicians who use an electronic
health record, or EHR, to "have the ability to track every time
(patient) information has been disclosed," said Robert Tennant, a senior
policy advisor for the Colorado-based Medical Group Management
Association, or MGMA.
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