HIPAA Audit Update

McAndrew’s comments came Wednesday at the National HIPAA Summit in Washington. She also announced that planning for the long-delayed HIPAA compliance audit program, mandated under the HITECH Act, is continuing, with a pilot of one or more audit models likely to take place later this year. McAndrew, however, declined to say whether the actual audit program could be launched by year’s end.
Also speaking at the HIPAA Summit was Valerie Morgan-Alston, who recently was named OCR’s first-ever deputy director for enforcement and regional operations. The creation of the position by OCR Director Georgina Verdugo is part of a reorganization that places a new emphasis on enforcement, Morgan-Alston stressed. “We are serious about HIPAA enforcement.”
Evidence of OCR’s HIPAA enforcement ramp-up has been in the headlines in recent weeks. The office annnounced a $4.3 million civil monetary penalty against Cignet Health, which operates four clinics in Maryland, in a case involving failure to provide patients with access to their records. It was the first time OCR had levied a civil monetary penalty for a HIPAA privacy rule violation.
And Massachusetts General Hospital entered a resolution agreement, paying a $1 million settlement and agreeing to corrective action in a case stemming from paper records lost on a subway.

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