What is the HIPAA Breach Notification Rule?
The HIPAA Breach Notification Rule is a 2009 addition to the original Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
The HIPAA Breach Notification Rule requires HIPAA-covered entities and their business associates to provide notification following a breach of unsecured protected health information (PHI). Generally defined, a breach is an impermissible use or disclosure of PHI that compromises its security or privacy. Such use or disclosure of PHI is presumed to be a breach unless the covered entity or business associate demonstrates a low probability of compromised PHI.
The HIPAA Breach Notification Rule was introduced in conjunction with the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009. This Rule requires notification to affected individuals, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and in some cases, the media, in the event of a breach of unsecured PHI.
Covered entities and business associates with access to PHI are obligated to ensure administrative, physical, and technical safeguards are in place to maintain the security of patient data. Additionally, they must have procedures in place should a data breach occur and comply with the HIPAA Privacy Rule.