Last week it was announced that CMS, the governing body for the new HIPAA version 5010 transaction standards, has extended the compliance deadline to March 31, 2012. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Office of E-Health Standards and Services (OESS) is delaying enforcing compliance in order to allow more offices the opportunity to implement this new billing coding standard, without incurring penalties. The 90-day delay does not affect the implementation date for the coding systems, which remains January 1, 2012 (January 1, 2013 for small health plans). Industry feedback played a major role in the decision to push back the compliance date. It was found that many covered entities are still awaiting software updates and were unable to meet the short deadline.
HIPAA is an acronym that most clinicians are familiar with, but there is another term that every clinician should familiarize themselves with as they consider taking patient data into the digital age-HITECH. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), was signed into law on February 17, 2009, to encourage the adoption and meaningful use of health information technology. An Electronic Medical Record (EMR) is the most common form of health information technology implemented by behavioral health care providers. When considering adopting an EMR it’s very important to consider the security of your data. Below are a few tips to maintaining the security of your patient data when using an EMR to comply with the enhanced security recommendations set forth in the HITECH act.