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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

HHS' website located at www.hhs.gov is an excellent resource that contains a wealth of information for any reader that is trying to become grounded in either the regulations or in HIT. Because of the website's expansive nature, it is often difficult to find the appropriate place to start, depending on your specific topic of interest. We provide a list of "entry points" below that have been useful to us.

HHS Privacy Rule Portal

The following link is the entry point to the HHS Health Information Privacy portal. If you are looking for regulatory information regarding HIPAA's Privacy rule this is where you should start: HHS Health Information Privacy

HHS Security Rule Portal

The following link is the entry point to the HHS Security Standard portal. If you are looking for regulatory information regarding HIPAA's Security rule this is where you should start: Security Rule Guidance Material

Of special note on the page above is a the Security Rule Educational Paper Series.

HHS Health Information Technology (HIT) Portal

The following link is the entry point to the HHS Health Information Technology portal. If you are looking for information at the intersection of HIPAA and HIT then this is where you need to start: HHS Health Information Technology Home

Of special interest is the item labeled "Privacy & Security" in the left navigation menu.

HHS Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN)

This following link is the entry point for information regarding NHIN: Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN)

This network is akin to the interstate highway system, but facilitates the movement of health information instead of goods. NHIN states its vision as follows:

Create a nationwide health information network infrastructure that can revolutionize the delivery of health care and wellness by providing efficient, secure, and accurate access to health information.

Any definition of "certified EHR" will likely require a mandate that such a system interoperate with the NHIN once the latter is available for production use.

Regional Office Privacy Advisors

Regional Office Privacy Advisors are stationed in each regional office of the Department of Health and Human Services to offer guidance and education to covered entities, business associates, and individuals on their rights and responsibilities related to Federal privacy and security requirements for protected health information. The names, addresses, and contact information for each of the Regional Managers, as well as a list of the States for which each Regional Manager has responsibility can be found here: Regional Office Privacy Advisors.


Agency for Health Care Policy and Research

The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) is a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the lead agency charged with supporting research designed to improve the quality of health care, reduce its cost, and broaden access to essential services. AHCPR's broad programs of research bring practical, science-based information to medical practitioners and to consumers and other health care purchasers.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website includes sections on travelers' health, general health information, data and statistics, training and employment, and funding. It provides detailed information about the CDC and includes links to related web sites. The Office of the Director(OD) manages and directs the activities of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; provides overall direction to, and coordination of, the scientific/medical programs of CDC; and provides leadership, coordination, and assessment of administrative management activities.


Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Food and Drug Administration website contains information on foods, human drugs, biologics, animal drugs, cosmetics, medical devices/radiological health, freedom of information, field operations, regulations, toxicology research, and medical products reporting.


Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website contains information on Medicaid, child health, publications & forms, stats & data, research & demonstration, and laws and regulations.CMS is the federal agency responsible for administering the Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP (Children's Health Insurance), HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments), and several other health-related programs. 


The Army Corps of Engineers

The Army Corps of Engineers (MFO) website contains headquarters news, HQ information resources, and HQ directorates.The Corps gets involved in many kinds of projects, usually in rebuilding the nation's infrastructure and responding to national emergencies of various kinds. Part of this vital work is being funded by monies appropriated as part of the "stimulus package" (i.e. "ARRA"). Although the Corps does not play a direct role in healthcare they often play an important indirect role by assisting in the protection of our waterways and our natural environment. I is quite possible, and likely, that the Corps would be called into action during a national healthcare emergency (e.g. an epidemic) and would provide personnel with the skills and knowledge to leverage the NHIN.


Make sure you are Omnibus Rule Compliant: HIPAA Privacy Checklist.

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