New Hampshire’s new breach notification law builds on the breach notification requirements under the HITECH Act by requiring health care providers and business associates to notify individuals of disclosures of their protected health information that are prohibited by New Hampshire law, even if such disclosures are permitted under HIPAA or other federal law. This new health information protection was enacted with other measures relating to privacy of electronic medical records and allowing individuals to opt out of sharing their names, addresses, and protected health care information with e-health data exchanges.

H.B. 619 becomes effective for data breaches occurring on and after January 1, 2010. Individuals may sue for violations of the notification requirement and, significantly, seek damages of not less than $1,000 per violation. The law also expressly requires business associates to cover the costs of notification if the use or disclosure triggering notification was made by the business associate.

Now, when New Hampshire health care providers and business associates experience a possible data breach, they will have to consider a number of laws to determine the appropriate response. These include H.B. 619, the state’s general breach notification statute, and the breach notification rules under the HITECH Act and implementing regulations. This is even more complex for health care providers and business associates operating in multiple states as at least five other states (Arkansas, California, Delaware, Missouri, Texas) and Puerto Rico require notification in the event some form of medical information is breached.
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