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HIPAA Omnibus Rule: What You Need to Know

Recently HIPAA privacy, security, and enforcement rules have been modified by the omnibus package in the HIPAA Omnibus Rule. Healthcare professionals scramble to understand their obligations and how to remain HIPAA compliant. So what do you need to know about the HIPAA Omnibus Rule?

The new Omnibus Rule modifies the privacy, security, and enforcement regulations. It does so by:

  • Strengthening the restrictions on the disclosure as well as the use of protected health information (PHI) for fundraising and marketing purposes. Forbids the sale of PHI without authorization from the individual
  • Necessitates adjustments to a covered entity’s Notice of Privacy Practices
  • Causes business associates as well as subcontractors of business associates of covered entities to be responsible for compliance with HIPAA Privacy and Security Rule requirements
  • Expands upon the individual’s right to receive electronic medical records and copies of his or her health information

In addition, the new Omnibus Rule also modifies the definition of a breach of privacy and how to determine whether or not a breach has occurred. It also creates an increased penalty structure for breaches.

To remain HIPAA-compliant, covered entities as well as business associates need to update their agreements and notices of privacy practices. They also need to update HIPAA procedures and policies, especially those that regard reporting as well as privacy breaches. Typically, a “covered entity” is a physician practice and a “business associate” is any individual or organization that receives, creates, maintains, or transmits PHI.

Because of the new HIPAA Omnibus Rule, maintaining HIPAA compliance and avoiding a breach of privacy or security is more important than ever. It is essential that all of the health-related communication with patients pertaining to PHI be compliant with the new HIPAA laws and procedures.

Having a medical answering service can help to ensure this compliance by protecting PHI with the proper procedures. The trained and skilled staff members of a medical answering service are all well versed on the HIPAA laws, including the updates and changes that come with the new Omnibus Rule, ensuring that your private practice or hospital will be compliant when it comes to communication between patients and healthcare professionals. Here at Telemed, we offer exceptional medical answering services for doctor’s offices, dentist’s offices, and hospitals alike. Take a look at our website for additional information that may benefit your practice or organization.