Standards for Privacy of Individually Identifiable Health Information. Final Privacy Rule Preamble.. Appropriations Laws

12/28/2000

Comment: One comment suggested that the penalty provisions of HIPAA, if extended to the privacy regulation, would require the Secretary to violate "Appropriations Laws" because the Secretary could be in the position of assessing penalties against her own and other federal agencies in their roles as covered entities. Enforcing penalties on these entities would require the transfer of agency funds to the General Fund.

Response: We disagree. Although we anticipate achieving voluntary compliance and resolving any disputes prior to the actual assessment of penalties, the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel has determined in similar situations that federal agencies have authority to assess penalties against other federal agencies and that doing so is not in violation of the Anti-Deficiency Act, 31 U.S.C. 1341.