Hitech Act – Privacy and Security

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HITECH Act – Privacy and Security What is the HITECH Act? Protecting the privacy of patient information is one of the top priorities of all healthcare providers and is specifically required by various state and federal laws. On February 17, 2009 the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA, sometimes referred to as “the stimulus”) included provisions making significant improvement in the privacy and security standards for health information was signed into law by the federal government (http://www.hpsafind.hrsa.gov). Included in this law is $19.2 Billion which is intended to be used to increase the use of Electronic Health Records (EHR) by physicians and hospitals; this portion of the bill is called, the Health…show more content…
The second method, destruction, will also secure information found in paper or electronic format. The paper or other hard copy media must be shredded or destroyed in a manner that EHR cannot be read or otherwise reconstructed. Electronic media is to be cleared, purged or destroyed. Destruction should also be performed consistent with NIST standards (Kline, 2009). What does the HITECH Act mean to physicians and hospitals? From a high level the act includes up to $44,000 in total incentives per physician under Medicare for “meaningful use” of EHR. Physicians reimbursed by Medicaid can receive up to $63,500 based on state-defined guidelines. Hospitals with high Medicare and Medicaid volumes could receive up to $11 million. These incentives will be paid out over a 4 to 5 year period beginning in 2011 (http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h1/show). How do physicians or hospitals qualify for HITECH Act Incentives? Although the specific requirements have not been issued yet, we do know that in order to qualify for incentive payments, physicians must: use a “certified” EHR: the act does not specify what “certification” will mean or who will provide certification. There is general consensus that the certifying organization will be the independent Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT); demonstrate “meaningful use” of an EHR: according to the Health and Human Services (HHS) “meaningful use” includes communication with

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