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Insight Amending Business Associate Agreements: Wait for New Regulations

The next HITECH HIPAA deadline is February 18, 2010, the date when, among other things, business associates (“BAs”) are directly subject to HIPAA requirements. The past few weeks, I have received many requests to execute amended business associate agreements (“BAAs”) as clients seek to comply with the February 18, 2010 deadline. However, HHS is in the process of issuing the next batch of regulations to implement the new BA requirements. Those regulations will almost certainly impact the requirements for valid BAAs. The regulations are due February 18, 2010 barring delay caused by the government’s recent snow days. Accordingly, my advice to clients has been to wait until the new regulations come out before going to the time and trouble to amend or send BAAs. I was gratified to hear that an OCR official recently told a state hospital association the same thing.

The Idaho Hospital Association and Idaho Medical Association have both scheduled teleconferences to address the new regulations when they come out. The currently scheduled dates of the teleconferences are listed in our “Upcoming Events” section of this update.

If you have questions about these or other legal issues, please contact a member of our Health Law group or 208.344.6000.

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