Don't expect a delay in the start of the federal EMR incentive program. In its semi-annual regulatory update, HHS lists the effective date as Oct. 1, 2010, for hospitals--the first day of federal fiscal year 2011--and Jan. 1, 2011, for physician practices, just as planned all along.
The agency also says it is on schedule to publish regulations for several components of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act before the end of 2009, including the much-anticipated proposal for "meaningful use" of EMRs. Also promised this month are interim final rules on data standards, implementation specifications and certification of EMRs. All will be subject to public comment periods before being finalized.
The HHS Office for Civil Rights this month plans on releasing a proposed rule for tightening HIPAA privacy protections, specifically addressing business associates, disclosure and sale of protected health information, breach notification and enforcement. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology will propose in February, as planned, regulations regarding accounting for disclosures under the HIPAA privacy rule, according to the agenda.