New Data Protection Laws Go Into Effect Today

Happy New Year!
Several news laws go into effect today. Here are just a few of them…

Canada: Lawyers Must Comply With Client Identification And Verification Requirements
California’s No-text Law

“Starting January 1, 2009 a new law will go into effect where writing, sending, or reading a text-based communication while driving will be against the law for all drivers in California.”

California’s Senate Bill 541
Hospitals, healthcare facilities, clinics, hospices and home health agencies are required to prevent the unauthorized acccess to, or use or disclosure of, a patient’s medical information.
California’s Assembly Bill 211
License healthcare professionals who “knowingly and willfully” obtain , disclose or use medical information unlawfully are subject to civil penalties ranging from $2,500 to $25,000 per violation.
Massachusetts’ 201 CMR 17.00: Standards for the Protection of Personal Information of Residents of the Commonwealth
There are many requirements in this law. If you have customers or employees in Massachusetts be sure you read it closely!
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) update
Under the old rule, only a medical provider could obtain medical information about an employee for an employer. Under the new rule, however, an employer that wants additional medical information about an employee to confirm him or her for FMLA leave may have various representatives–such as a health care provider, a human resources professional, a leave administrator, or a management official–contact the employee’s health care provider. An employee’s direct supervisor is prohibited from contacting the employee’s health care provider. (NOTE: This Act will go into effect January 16, not today.)

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