First HIPAA Privacy and Security Audits Begin

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has begun the process of notifying covered entities that they are among the unlucky few who have been selected for the first HIPAA privacy and security audits under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act. The selected entities represent a cross sample of the health care industry from billion-dollar health care systems to small physician practices. Audited entities will undergo comprehensive reviews of their privacy and security policies and procedures, documentation, and operations. While the first twenty covered entities have been selected, approximately another 130 remain in this audit round. OCR is auditing eight health plans, two claims clearinghouses plus 10 provider organizations, including three hospitals, three physicians’ offices, and a laboratory, a dental office, a nursing/custodial facility and a pharmacy.

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