NRPM: Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information. d. Definitions.

11/03/1999

There are a number of ambiguities in sections 1178(a)(2)(B) and 264(c)(2) of HIPAA. Clarifying the statute through the regulations will generally provide substantially more guidance to the regulated entities and the public as to which requirements, standards, and implementation specifications apply. For these reasons, the rules propose below to interpret several ambiguous statutory terms by regulation.

There are five definitional questions that arise in considering whether or not a State law is preempted under section 264(c)(2): (1) What is a “provision” of State law? (2) What is a “State law”? (3) What kind of State law, under section 1178(a)(2)(B), “relates to the privacy of individually identifiable health information?” (4) When is a provision of State law at issue “contrary” to the analogous provision of the federal regulations? (5) When is a provision of State law “more stringent than” the analogous provision of the federal regulations? We discuss these questions and our proposed regulatory answers below.