Tag Archives: HITECH

HHS/OCR Announces Launch of HIPAA Audit Program Phase 2

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Today, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’s (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced the launch of Phase 2 of its HIPAA Compliance Audit Program. (OCR’s announcement can be accessed at Audit Phase 2 Announcement and further information about Phase 2 can be accessed at Audit Phase 2 Information.) In this phase, OCR will review the policies and procedures that covered entities and business associates have adopted and implemented to meet certain standards and implementation specifications of the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and/or Breach Notification Rules. Phase 2 will consist [...] Read more

HIPAA/HITECH Act Accounting of Disclosures NPRM: Redux?

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In May 2011, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) issued a proposed rule to modify the HIPAA Privacy Rule’s standard for accounting of disclosures of protected health information (PHI). The proposed rule would have implemented the HITECH Act’s requirement for covered entities and business associates to account for disclosures of PHI to carry out treatment, payment and health care operations if the disclosures are through an electronic health record (EHR). HHS also proposed to expand the accounting provision to provide individuals with [...] Read more

Alston & Bird Health Care Advisory: HIPAA Audit Program Phase 2 Update

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We have previously blogged about the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services HIPAA Audit Program, including the Audit Program pilot (November 30, 2011 and March 7, 2012), the release of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) audit protocols (June 26, 2012), and the status of phase 2 of the Audit Program (February 26, 2014 and September 16, 2014).  Today, Alston & Bird issued a Health Care ADVISORY on the status of Phase 2 of the HIPAA Audit Program, in which we discuss recent guidance from OCR on the HIPAA Audit Program and its status and provide some basic compliance reminders that may [...] Read more

HIPAA Audit Program Phase 2: Delayed

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A representative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has recently revealed that OCR has delayed the start of phase 2 of its HIPAA Audit Program – and has revised its plans for phase 2. Previous Plans for Phase 2 Earlier this year, OCR had announced that phase 2 of the Audit Program would begin this year and would target specific high risk issues.  It had indicated that, beginning this past summer, it would conduct a pre-audit survey of 800 covered entities and 400 business associates, to determine suitability for the OCR HIPAA Audit Program.  [...] Read more

HHS OIG Releases Report Regarding ONC’s Oversight of Testing and Certification of Electronic Health Records

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The HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently issued a report regarding the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s (ONC) oversight of electronic health record (EHR) testing and certification, “The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s Oversight of the Testing and Certification of Electronic Health Records.” ONC was statutorily established by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act and is the principal Federal entity responsible for coordinating the effort to implement a nationwide [...] Read more

OCR Issues Two New Reports to Congress on HIPAA Compliance and Enforcement from 2011 to 2012

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Last week the HHS Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) presented certain findings regarding Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) compliance and enforcement to the National Committee on Health and Vital Statistics (“NCHVS”), an HHS advisory committee. The presentation reviewed OCR’s two recently issued reports to Congress. OCR is required to submit such reports under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (“HITECH”) Act. The first report, “HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rule Compliance,” examines the number and [...] Read more

Transmitting PHI by Email

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Email has become an important mode of communication for business operations, with approximately 100 billion business emails sent in 2013 alone. Included in these messages are patients’ personal and health information, such as test results, diagnoses, and social security numbers. The Privacy and Security Rules of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) regulate the transmission of this sensitive information, known as protected health information (“PHI”), by Covered Entities, and in some circumstances, Business Associates. Covered Entities [...] Read more

OCR and ONC Release New Security Risk Assessment Tool

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Late last week, the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released a security risk assessment (SRA) tool designed to help health care providers conduct risk assessments as required by the HIPAA Security Rule.  Under the Security Rule, health care providers must perform risk assessments to evaluate the security of their electronic protected health information (ePHI), and then implement reasonable and appropriate safeguards that may be necessary to reduce and manage the risk and to protect ePHI.  While the Security [...] Read more

HIPAA Audit Program Returning?

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We previously blogged about the Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR) HIPAA Privacy, Security and Breach Audit Program (HIPAA Audit Program) on November 30, 2011, March 7, 2012, and June 26, 2012. On Monday, OCR published a notice  in the Federal Register in which it essentially announces the return of its HIPAA Audit Program. In the notice, OCR announces that it plans to submit a new information collection request (ICR) – a HIPAA Audit Program survey – to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, and seeks comments on the proposed survey [...] Read more

House of Representatives Passes Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act of 2014: HR 3811 Would Require HHS to Notify Affected Individuals of a Breach of a Health Insurance Exchange Within 2 Days of Discovery

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On Friday, January 10, 2014, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3811, the “Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act of 2014” by a vote of 291 to 122. The bill was introduced on January 7, 2014 by Representative Joe Pitts (R-PA), and has a total of 75 cosponsors. Under the bill, the Secretary of Health and Human Services would be required to provide notice to each individual “[n]ot later than two business days after the breach of security of any system maintained by an Exchange established under section 1311 or 1321 of [the Affordable Care Act] which is known to have [...] Read more