OCR Launches Phase 2 of HIPAA Audit Program

OCR_HIPAA_AuditHIPAA Phase 2 audiit is a part of the continued efforts to assess compliance with the HIPAA Privacy, Security and Breach Notification Rules by the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR). Audits are an important compliance tool for OCR that supplements OCR’s other enforcement tools, such as complaint investigations and compliance reviews. These tools enable OCR to identify best practices and proactively uncover and address risks and vulnerabilities to protected health information (PHI).

In its 2016 Phase 2 HIPAA Audit Program, OCR will  review the policies and procedures adopted and employed by covered entities and their business associates to meet selected standards and implementation specifications of the Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules.  These audits will primarily be desk audits, although some on-site audits will be conducted.

The 2016 audit process begins with verification of an entity’s address and contact information. An email is being sent to covered entities and business associates requesting that contact information be provided to OCR in a timely manner.   OCR will then transmit a pre-audit questionnaire to gather data about the size, type, and operations of potential auditees; this data will be used with other information to create potential audit subject pools.

If an entity does not respond to OCR’s request to verify its contact information or pre-audit questionnaire, OCR will use publically available information about the entity to create its audit subject pool.  Therefore an entity that does not respond to OCR may still be selected for an audit or subject to a compliance review. Communications from OCR will be sent via email and may be incorrectly classified as spam. If your entity’s spam filtering and virus protection are automatically enabled, we expect entities to check their junk or spam email folder for emails from OCR.

The audit program is developing on pace and OCR is committed to transparency about the process. OCR will post updated audit protocols on its website closer to conducting the 2016 audits.  The audit protocol will be updated to reflect the HIPAA Omnibus Rulemaking and can be used as a tool by organizations to conduct their own internal self-audits as part of their HIPAA compliance activities.

EHR 2.0 offers a secure and user-friendly online HIPAA compliance assessment toolkit for small medical practices with limited resources and time, to identify gap areas, prioritize solutions, and demonstrate compliance with federal regulations.

Demo of our Do-It-Yourself Online HIPAA Compliance Assessment Toolkit with HITECH

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To understand more on the latest HIPAA phase 2 audits, listen to our 50mins webinar on “How to survive a HIPAA audit by HHS/OCR”

HIPAA Phase 2 audit

 

 

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Our mission is to assist healthcare organizations and business associates in the development, design, and implementation of practices to secure IT systems and comply with HIPAA/HITECH privacy, security, breach and enforcement rules by protecting patient health information.

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