Texas health care providers and insurers face new mandates and increased penalties over the use of electronic health records (EHR) as a result of HB300, which was passed in the 2011 Texas legislative session and signed into law by Governor Perry.
The Texas legislation expands privacy rights of patients beyond that contained in federal HIPAA legislation and regulation. The new law, which is not effective until September 1, 2012, is designed to better ensure the security and privacy of protected health information (PHI) that is exchanged via electronic means. However, the law will also increase mandates on covered entities (health care providers and health insurers), grant new enforcement authority to a variety of state agencies, establish standards for the use of EHR, and increase penalties for the wrongful electronic disclosure of PHI, including creating a new felony for the wrongful accessing or reading of EHR via electronic means. With the recently increased federal enforcement activity regarding patient privacy, covered entities in Texas can expect similar enforcement action from state agencies as well.
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