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The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 became federal law February 17. It includes provisions for heightened enforcement of HIPAA and stiffer penalties for privacy and security violations. It also allocates billions of dollars to invest in the implementation and exchange of health information technology, such as Electronic Health Records (EHR). The new privacy and security provisions fall under Title XIII, Health Information Technology, which includes the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act). Under the HITECH Act, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which enforces the HIPAA privacy rule for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), will now be funded to ensure industry compliance.
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