If you are a HIPAA covered entity, all of your business associate (BA) agreements must comply with the HIPAA Omnibus Rule by Sept. 22, 2014.
The HIPAA Omnibus Rule, published Jan. 25, 2013, expanded the definition of a business associate. For example, a company that merely stores protected health information on your behalf is considered your BA. (See this decision tree [PDF] to help determine who is your business associate.) The rule also extended liability under the HIPAA privacy and security rules to BAs as well as to their subcontractors. More importantly for physician practices, covered entities may, in certain circumstances, be held liable for actions of BAs serving as "agents." If you have the right or authority to control the BA's conduct in the course of performing a service on your behalf, an agency relationship likely exists between your practice and the BA.
Any BA agreement you entered into after Jan. 25, 2013, already should meet the Omnibus Rule specifications. Now it's time to bring all of your older agreements up to date.
TMA Can Help
TMA members can customize our sample BA agreement, a tool aid
practices, working with their own attorneys and consultants, to meet federal
HIPAA and Texas privacy requirements. In addition, TMA's Policies and Procedures: A Guide for Medical Practices includes sample HIPAA-compliant, Texas-specific BA agreements. (If you purchased a guide on or after July 1, 2013, you automatically received the HIPAA revisions from TMA.)
Bookmark www.texmed.org/hipaa for more HIPAA resources from TMA.
NOTICE: The Texas Medical Association provides this information with the express understanding that 1) no attorney-client relationship exists, 2) neither TMA nor its attorneys are engaged in providing legal advice and 3) that the information is of a general character. This is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. While every effort is made to ensure that content is complete, accurate and timely, TMA cannot guarantee the accuracy and totality of the information contained in this publication and assumes no legal responsibility for loss or damages resulting from the use of this content. You should not rely on this information when dealing with personal legal matters; rather legal advice from retained legal counsel should be sought.
Revised Aug. 26, 2014
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August 13, 2013