Stage 2 Meaningful Use & HITECH Impact on HIPAA—What are we waiting for?

It seems like forever since we have been hearing/talking about both Stage 2 Meaningful Use and the impact of HITECH on HIPAA, so what’s up, when will they be published as final?  The rules are currently sitting with the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

  • On July 16, 2012 the final regulations for the Stage 2 Meaningful Use program went to OMB for review.  Stage 2 could raise the bar for hospitals in many ways see previous blog on that.  But, until OMB finalizes the ruling it is unknown how much the feedback on the preliminary ruling has changed the Stage 2 requirements.
  •  On March 24, 2012 the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) sent the final HIPAA Omnibus Rule to the OMB.  This rule is expected to include:
    •  Final Breach Notification Rule
    •  A final HIPAA Enforcement Rule that implements changes made by the HITECH Act.
    •  A final rule implementing changes in the Privacy and Security Rules managed by the HITECH Act, as well as other changes to the Privacy Rule proposed in 2010.
    • A final rule implementing changes to the Privacy Rule required by the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.

Its predicted that OMB will publish both rules before summer is over, I’ve heard ‘end of July’, ‘late summer’ and ‘end of summer’.  Although much is known about these 2 rulings and pieces of them are already in play (such as breach notification) there are sure to be a few surprises that will impact hospital, providers and vendors.