HIPAA to undergo further change with the newly proposed Health Reform Bill

There are several health IT related provisions in the healthcare reform bill that has recently passed through a key Senate committee. Among them are new rules regarding HIPAA, including a proposals allowing the periodic update of HIPAA standards, and fines to health plans that don’t comply to HIPAA “operating rules” by April 2014.

This 223-page page bill was moved by Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and allows the Dept. of Health and Human Services to designate a committee that no later than April 2014 would biannually review existing HIPAA standards and operation rules, and make recommendations for updates.

The bill has a listing of proposed penalties for health plans that don’t certify compliance to the HIPAA requirements. The bill also proposes that health plans would be required to certify to HHS by Dec. 2015 that “their data and information systems comply with the most current standards and operating rules” for HIPAA transactions, including four additional ones–health claims, enrollment/disenrollment in plans, health plan premium payments, and referral certification and authorization.

However, there is no surity about the fact that the bill will be passed by Congress and signed by Obama. There will most probably be a host of changes in it as it’s combined with proposals from the House of Representatives.