Posting and Distribution
Under the Privacy Rule, whenever there is a material change to a Notice of Privacy Practices (NPP), a covered entity must promptly revise and distribute its NPP. The Omnibus Rule confirms that the required amendments constitute material changes necessitating revision and redistribution of NPPs. Further, the Omnibus Rule provides for certain distribution requirements based on the type of covered entity.
The Omnibus Rule does not modify current requirements for health care providers to distribute NPP revisions. Therefore, when a health care provider with a direct treatment relationship with an individual revises its NPP, the provider must make the NPP available upon request on or after the effective date of the revision. Moreover, the provider must make the NPP available at the service delivery site and post the NPP in a clear and prominent location. The Preamble clarifies that a health care provider is required to give a copy of its NPP only to new patients and not all individuals seeking treatment.
Impact of Noncompliance by September 23, 2013
Noncompliance with the new NPP requirements could subject covered entities to government investigations, increased civil monetary penalties, resolution agreements, and complaints from patients and beneficiaries. As the Omnibus Rule affects individual rights, covered entities should be cognizant that failure to comply with the NPP requirements may be highly visible by patients and beneficiaries and can result in greater scrutiny by the HHS Office of Civil Rights, agency with enforcement authority under HIPAA. Therefore, covered entities should make sure to evaluate the content and distribution practices of their NPPs and determine if any changes are necessary to comply with the Omnibus Rule.
New NPP Available through HCP
Healthcare Compliance Pros now has available the new Omnibus NPP that meets the Omnibus requirements and contains all Omnibus components. It is available to clients on our website when they log in. It can be found under "Privacy Forms".