Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Risk Deferred? HITECH Rules in Effect, but "Enforcement" Postponed (Maybe)

Firms subject to the HITECH Act should pay careful attention to developing news on the topic of enforcement. As discussed previously, these rules extend HIPAA confidentiality and information protection rules to entities including law firms.

While these rules were scheduled to go into effect in February, the government had promised more detailed guidelines would be published ahead of time, which didn't happen. Most recently, officials have sent signals suggesting that while the Act is in effect, enforcement of some parameters may be delayed. This link provides an interesting summary of the confusion. It appears that enforcement of the breach notification rules have gone into effect, with others pending.

The bottom line is that it still would be wise for prudent law firms subject to these rules, who have not taken measures to come into compliance, to use this reprieve wisely and get their houses in order (even if the government's is still a little disarrayed).

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