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Regulatory And Legislative Issues Paper

1109 words - 5 pages

Many issues in the health care arena are influenced by orders from regulatory agencies, called regulations. For instance, state boards of nursing develop regulatory rules to enforce standards of practice for nurses. These regulations dictate how nurses are to practice and are enforced by the law. A topic within the past few years that has raised questions pertains to the requirement of healthcare facilities to implement an electronic health record within one’s system. Privacy is important to both patients and their healthcare provider; thus the importance of the protection of records. Consequently, the Health and Human Services Department created The Health Information Technology for ...view middle of the document...

To demonstrate the seriousness of this act, the penalties for noncompliance consist of up to $250,000 fine with repeat violations extending up to $1.5 million (HIPAA, 2009). Additionally, the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) is required to conduct periodic audits on providers and their business associates. Breach of secure data from unauthorized users requires notification to HHS. If the breach affects more than 500 patients, this will require the posting of the facility’s name on HHS’ website. Also depending on the degree of the offense, the offender’s name may be given to the local media. Once the media is notified, this facility is likely to undergo negative publicity to the area, affecting the amount of business received. This notification process shall help patients decide which facility he or she is most comfortable in receiving his or her healthcare needs. Another enhancement for patients pertaining to this act applies to circumstances that arise in which a provider has implemented an EHR, the patient has access to an electronic copy of his or her health record for a small fee. To qualify for the HITECH incentives, providers must advance their system to have these capabilities for patients to receive the records him or her desire.
Although not a direct cost to the American people, the HITECH Act demands more transparency and accountability to the providers because of the significant taxpayer dollars providing the incentive funding to these providers. If a provider desires to receive the benefits of an EHR incentive, he or she must comply with the guidelines set forth in the provisions of this new act. For eligible professionals, the Medicare EHR incentive is $44,000 distributed over five years if they participate by 2012. If professionals choose to participate in the Medicaid incentive program, the providers must implement their EHR program by 2012 and will receive $63,750 throughout six years of participation (Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services [CMS], 2010). A goal of HITECH is to lower health care costs for everyone by mainstreaming and protecting health records.
The groups in favor of the HITECH Act include the Office for Civil Rights, Health and Human Services, Federal and state agencies. These groups’ focus is to enhance patient privacy, improve accuracy of patient records, lower health care costs, and provide health care information to any individual who desire a copy. Based on a...

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