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    HIPAA Security Regulations: Compliance Dates for the Initial Implementation of the Security Standards - § 164.318

    As Contained in the HHS HIPAA Security Rules

     

    HHS Security Regulations
    Security Standards for the Protection of Electronic PHI: Compliance Dates for Initial Implementation - § 164.318

     

    Compliance dates for the initial implementation of the security standards.

    (a) Health plan. (1) A health plan that is not a small health plan must comply with the applicable requirements of this subpart no later than April 20, 2005.

    (2) A small health plan must comply with the applicable requirements of this subpart no later than April 20, 2006.

    (b) Health care clearinghouse. A health care clearinghouse must comply with the applicable requirements of this subpart no later than April 20, 2005.

    (c) Health care provider. A covered health care provider must comply with the applicable requirements of this subpart no later than April 20, 2005.

     

    HHS Description
    Security Standards for the Protection of Electronic PHI: Compliance Dates for Initial Implementation

     

    We proposed that how the security standard would be implemented by each covered entity would be dependent upon industry trading partner agreements for electronic transmissions. Covered entities would be able to adapt the security matrix to meet business needs. We suggested that requirements of the security standard may be implemented earlier than the compliance date. However, we would require implementation to be complete by the applicable compliance date, which is 24 months after adoption of the standard, and 36 months after adoption of the standard for small health plans, as provided by the Act. In the proposed rule, we suggested that an entity choosing to convert from paper to standard EDI transactions, before the effective date of the security standard, consider implementing the security standard at the same time.

    In this final rule the dates by which entities must be in compliance with the standards are called "compliance dates," consistent with our practice in the Transactions, Privacy, and Employer Identifier Rules. Section 164.318 in this final rule is also organized consistent with the format of those rules. The substantive requirements, which are statutory, remain unchanged.

    Many of the comments received concerning effective dates and compliance dates, including the compliance dates for modifications of standards, were addressed in the Transactions Rule. Those that were not addressed in that publication are presented below.

     

    HHS Response to Comments Received
    Security Standards for the Protection of Electronic PHI: Compliance Dates for Initial Implementation

     

    Comment: A number of commenters expressed support for the effective dates of the rules and stated that they should not be delayed. In contrast, one commenter stated that we should delay this rule to allow for an open consensus building debate to occur concerning security. One commenter asked that the rule be delayed until after implementation of the ICD-CM changes.

    A number of comments were received expressing the opinion that the security regulation should not be published until either the Congress has enacted legislation governing standards with respect to the privacy of individually identifiable health information, or the Secretary of HHS has promulgated final regulations containing these standards. One commenter stated, "we find ourselves in the difficult position of reacting to proposed rules setting the standards for how information should be physically and electronically protected, without having reached agreement on the larger issues of consent for and disclosure of individual medical information."

    Response: The effective date of the final rule is 60 days after this final rule is published in the Federal Register. The statute sets forth the compliance dates for the standards. Covered entities must comply with this final rule no later than 24 months (36 months for small plans) after the effective date.

    The final Privacy Rule has already been published. We note that numerous comments concerning the timing of the adoption of privacy and security standards were also received in the privacy rulemaking and are discussed in the Privacy Rule at 65 FR 82752.

    Comment: One commenter asked that proposed § 142.312 be rewritten to separate the effective dates for the Security Rule and the Transactions Rule.

    Response: The proposed rule incorporated general language applicable to all the proposed Administrative Simplification standards. Language concerning standards other than Security is not included in § 164.318. Because this final rule is adopted after the Transactions Rule was adopted, the compliance dates for the security standards differ from those for the transactions standards. Comments concerning general effective dates were addressed in the Transactions Rule. Comments specific to the security standards are addressed here.

    Comment: Several commenters suggested that we not allow early implementation of the Security Rules. A number of others asked that we allow, but not require, early implementation by willing trading partners. Another commenter suggested that early implementation by willing trading partners be allowed as long as the data content transmitted is equal to that required by statute. Another commenter requested that it be stipulated that entities cannot implement less than 1 year from the date of this final rule and then only after successful testing, and that a "start testing by" date be defined.

    Response: Whether or not to implement before the compliance date is a business decision that each covered entity must make. Moreover, the vast majority of the standards address internal policies and procedures that can be implemented at any time without any impact on trading partners.

    Comment: One commenter asked us to establish a research site or test laboratory for a trial implementation.

    Response: The concept of a "trial implementation" that would have widespread relevance is inconsistent with our basic principles of flexibility, scalability, and technology-neutrality.

    Comment: One commenter stated that the 2-year time frame for implementation of a contingency plan is too short for health plans that serve multiple regions of the country.

    Response: The Congress mandated that entities must be in compliance 2 years from the initial standard's adoption date (3 years for small plans).