Californian Sentenced to Prison for HIPAA Violation

[Editor’s note, August 9, 2010: Huping Zhou was the first person in the nation to receive jail time for a misdemeanor HIPAA offense—for accessing confidential records without a valid reason or authorization but not profiting from it through the sale or use of the information.] A former UCLA Health System employee became the first person in the nation to be sentenced to federal prison for violating HIPAA. Huping Zhou, 47, of Los...

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Bill Would Extend Meaningful Use to Behavioral Health

Behavioral health and substance abuse facilities may become eligible to receive federal EHR incentives. Legislation introduced into the House of Representatives would extend the HITECH Act “meaningful use” EHR incentive program to behavioral health and substance abuse providers. The Health Information Technology Extension for Behavioral Health Services Act of 2010 aims to make behavioral and mental health professionals, substance...

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Privacy: A Personal Decision

A good reminder in the New York Times today how relative privacy can be. Writer Brad Stone highlights the start-up site Blippy, which allows users to share their purchases with others on the site. Blippy users grant the site access to their credit card and e-commerce accounts to capture and publish their transactions. In some cases users have given the site access to e-mail accounts, also. Blippy had been collecting data about Amazon...

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Clarification on Physician Eligibility for Meaningful Use

President Obama signed into law today the “Continuing Extension Act of 2010” (HR 4851), which extends through May 31 the current freeze in Medicare physician payments. Among an assortment of other amendments, however, was one that revises language in the HITECH Act to clarify the definition of a hospital-based physician for purposes of the meaningful use incentive program. Hospital-based physicians were ineligible for the program,...

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AHIMA: Leverage CCHIT for Interim Cert Program

AHIMA commented on ONC’s proposed temporary health IT certification program today, recommending in part that ONC leverage the existing CCHIT certification process as a bridge to the eventual permanent program. With little time to get the temporary program running, AHIMA recommends that using the CCHIT certification process would “ease the transition, reduce confusion, and expedite the establishment of the permanent certification...

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