ONC Drafts Health IT Extension Program

ONC published a draft description of the health IT extension program in today’s Federal Register, requesting comments within two weeks—by June 11. The extension program is called for under the HITECH Act in ARRA, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It authorizes creation of a National Health Information Technology Research Center and affiliated regional extension centers to assist providers in selecting and implementing...

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HHS Publishes Program Plan for ARRA Incentives

The Department of Health and Human Services released its program plan for enacting the health IT incentives provisions called for in ARRA. By the end of 2009, HHS will have drafted necessary program policies and published them for public comment. These policies will include a definition of “meaningful use.” HHS will also use this year to plan necessary support for the program, including a national outreach program. In 2010 HHS plans...

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ARRA Updates – Week of May 17

May is a busy month for the health IT provisions in ARRA, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (or “stimulus bill”). Federal groups scrambled to meet a number of deadlines last week. The Health IT Policy Committee met May 11, just several days after its full membership was announced. ONC head David Blumenthal wanted the group to meet before the Health IT Standards Committee held its first meeting at the end of that week, per its...

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Kaiser Fined for Celebrity Breach

On Friday the California Department of Public Health announced an administrative penalty of $250,000 against Kaiser Permanente Bellflower Hospital for failing to prevent unauthorized access to octuplet mom Nadya Suleman’s medical records. According to CDPH, 21 employees and two physicians improperly viewed Suleman’s medical records. The penalty is the first under California’s strict new privacy laws, which went into...

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HIPAA: 43,691 Complaints and Counting

If you ever wonder what progress the Office for Civil Rights is making as it works its way through HIPAA privacy rule complaints, the numbers are easy to find. Each month OCR reports top-line results of the HIPAA cases it has received and resolved. OCR has logged approximately 43,700 complaints since the privacy rule went into effect April 14, 2003. It has resolved 86 percent of them, and as of April 30 it had nearly 6,000 cases still...

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