New HIPAA audit dates unknown

More information about the OCR's upcoming audits is still forthcoming.

Health providers need to be aware of the upcoming dates of possible HIPAA audits so they can prepare, but that can be difficult when the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) hasn't made them available. According to GovInfoSecurity, the Office for Civil Rights is planning to launch a series of audits this year, even though the exact timeline is currently unknown.

Jocelyn Samuels, the director of the OCR, spoke to the press recently and addressed the series of audits without providing a specific schedule. She did reference that the OCR will address "high impact cases" this year in an attempt to promote proper compliance measures through setting well-known examples. The organization will also pursue other measures to respond to HIPAA complaints, including a plan to compensate HIPAA violation victims.

In addition, Samuels also listed some of the potential goals of the audits when they do finally occur, which will ideally create the framework needed to address risks and best practice issues in the future. It wants to continue to promote awareness of important compliance issues as well.

"OCR is committed to implementing an effective audit program, and audits will be an important compliance tool for OCR," she said. "Organizations should continue to monitor the OCR website for future announcements on the program," she added.

Avoiding HIPAA violations is just a part of enforcing good standards and staying compliant with the law at your practice. Use the services of a consultant to guide you through all of the different steps of staying in touch with healthcare laws and ready for government observation. Passing these audits can be a good sign of what a provider organization is doing well and what they have to change.

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