HITECH Act timeline

Pay attention to deadlines to ensure compliance

On Feb. 17, 2009, the Health Information Technology and Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH) was enacted. On that date, tiered civil monetary penalties were put into place for violations following the enactment, and state attorneys general were given the authority to enforce the act.

On Feb, 18, 2010, all business associates were to be compliant with new regulations.

Future deadlines for compliance include:

• Jan. 2, 2011: Initial deadline for complying with new accounting for disclosure rules for entities implementing electronic health systems after January 1, 2009.

• Feb. 18, 2011: Department of Health and Human Services required to impose civil monetary penalties in cases of "willful neglect."

• 2013: Extended deadline for older systems to comply with the new accounting for disclosure rules.

Although these are the deadlines published in the initial act, it is important to stay on top of changes and new deadlines, points out Heather P. Wilson, PhD, principal, Weatherbee Resources, a Hyannis, MA-based compliance and hospice consulting firm. "Throughout this process, HHS has missed deadlines, and health care providers have found themselves with little time to implement changes."