RealNews

Techs Tangle With Privacy Regs

April 15 is a national day of angst in the United States. But for many this year, the government-provoked pain arrived one day early. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a broad and complex set of federal privacy rules, went into effect Monday. HIPAA regulations are intended to give people more control over how their medical information is used. They affect anyone who works with or has access to medical information, from huge scientific research centers and big city hospitals to rural one-physician practices or any business that offers health insurance to employees. Under the new rules, failure to properly protect medical information could result in fines of up to $250,000 and prison terms up to 10 years. Technical support people and systems administrators who have to ensure that medical data is gathered, stored and transmitted securely said they were hit hardest by the demands of HIPAA. Full Story

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