OCR to Survey Entities on Audit Experience
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is set to conduct an online survey of 115 HIPAA-covered entities such as health plans, healthcare clearinghouses, and healthcare providers. The questionnaire is designed to collect information on how the audits affect audited organizations, and to better understand how the audited entities view the auditing process. According to a notice posted to the Federal Register’s site, the survey also aims to gather information on how efficiently the audit program assesses covered entities’ HIPAA compliance efforts. According to the Federal Register notice, the findings will be used to:
- Measure the effect of the HIPAA audit program on covered entities
- Gauge entity attitudes towards the audit overall and in regards to major audit program features, such as the document request, communications received, on-site visit, and audit report findings and recommendations
- Obtain estimates of costs incurred by covered entities, in time and money, spent responding to audit-related requests
- Seek feedback on the effect of the HIPAA audit program on day-to-day business operations
- Assess whether improvements in HIPAA compliance were achieved as a result of the program
Healthcare IT News reports that OCR has, over time, collected $15.3 million in HIPAA violations enforcements and settlements—with the bulk of revenue coming from resolution agreements. According to the article, OCR director Leon Rodriguez also stated that about one third of the 77,000 complaints filed with the OCR have resulted in investigation.