Quick Facts about the HITECH and Omnibus Rule

Have you heard the terms HITECH and Omnibus Rule tossed around, but you aren’t entirely sure what they are? You aren’t alone. Here are fast facts about the HITECH and Omnibus Rule.

What are they?

HITECH: This is a provision to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which provided incentives to physicians and healthcare providers to move to electronic health records.

Omnibus Rule: This was created by The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a response to the HITECH rule. It is comprised of four rules concerning updated privacy protections, new patient rights to their health information and gave the government authority to enforce the HIPAA regulations.

How it Works with HIPAA:

HITECH: Even though HITECH and HIPAA aren’t directly related, HITECH states it can’t compromise HIPAA privacy laws. It also requires providers must perform a risk assessment. HITECH established the data breaches notification rules, along with establishing the rule making sure business associates are just as accountable for data breaches as providers are.

Omnibus Rule: Made up of four rules regarding HIPAA:

  1. Final updates were made to the HIPAA Privacy, Security and Enforcement Rules.
  2. Changes to the enforcement rule to incorporate a penalty structure created by the HITECH Act.
  3. There were changes made regarding Breach Notifications, also under HITECH.
  4. Modifications were made to the HIPAA Privacy Rule to prohibit health plans from using genetic information for insurance underwriting.

Bottom Line:

HITECH: HITECH established compliance requirements for business associates while also providing clarity to the public about how security and breaches were to be handled by businesses and other entities.

Omnibus Rule: The Omnibus rule was created to better support HIPAA regulation as technology changes and evolves, especially as the HITECH Act encouraged providers to move to EHR. This rule also covers entities and business associates to abide by HIPAA rules and be accountable to those rules.

If you have questions concerning HITECH or the Omnibus Rule and how they relate to your business, contact us today.