Who are “Business Associates”?

The term “business associates” refers specifically to a person or organization that conducts business with the covered entity that involves the use or disclosure of individually identifiable health information.  Business associates include those that perform services on behalf of the covered entity, such as claims processing, data analysis, utilization review, and billing, or provide services to the covered entity, such as legal, actuarial, accounting, consulting, data aggregation, management, administrative, accreditation, or financial services.  To be a business associate,under the definition,  the work of an organization must deal directly with the use or disclosure of protected health information.  Additionally,the HITECH Act also specifies that an organization that provide data transmission of PHI to a covered entity and  requires access to PHI routinely will be treated as a business associate