The Department of Health and Human Services expects in March 2011 to publish a final rule to modify the HIPAA privacy, security and enforcement rules to comply with provisions of the HITECH Act. HHS also plans in June 2011 to publish a proposed rule to establish a unique identification system for medical devices.

The expected rules and other regulatory plans are part of HHS' semi-annual regulatory agenda, published Dec. 20 in the Federal Register. The new HIPAA rule follows a proposed rule issued in July 2010 to strengthen protection of health data and other sensitive information. The proposed rule requires subcontractors of business associates to comply with the same responsibilities of business associates in securing the integrity and confidentiality of protected health information. Other proposed provisions included:

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