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Practices get HIPAA telehealth extension; national emergency end does not impact PHE

Your practice has more time to purchase and implement a HIPAA-compliant telehealth system thanks to a decision by the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
The agency, which oversees HIPAA’s privacy and security regulations, announced on April 11 that it will extend the enforcement discretion for telehealth services during the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) until August 9.
"OCR will continue to exercise its enforcement discretion and will not impose penalties on covered health care providers for noncompliance with the HIPAA Rules that occurs in connection with the good faith provision of telehealth during the 90-calendar day transition period," OCR stated in a release.
The OCR's enforcement discretion allows providers to perform telehealth and digital health services through a variety of non-HIPAA-compliant methods during the PHE.
Practices can continue to provide telehealth services that follow the enforcement discretion guidelines while they shop for a compliant system or wind down their telehealth services.
The Aug. 9 deadline is the latest new expiration date for health care-related waivers that HHS, CMS and other agencies implemented during the COVID-19 PHE. Part B News subscribers can access a list of key expiration dates online.
National emergency ends, PHE continues
Practices should also be aware that the end of the COVID-19 national emergency did not change the May 11 expiration date for the COVID-19 PHE. Congress voted to end the national emergency and President Biden signed the resolution on April 10.
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