Next Round of HIPAA Compliance Audits Still on Hold

The next round of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance audits is still on hold after a three-year delay, and federal regulators are declining to give any information regarding when that next round will begin. However, one government official did say there is a variety of brand new HIPAA-centric guidance in the works.

Alessandra Swanson, a team leader from the Chicago office of the DHHS’s Office for Civil Rights, told attendees at the HiMSS 2015 Conference that the next phase of random HIPAA audits is currently in development. She did not, however, offer any indication of what the program would look like.

Delays in the process

The DHHS Office of Civil Rights, the department enforcing HIPAA, initially planned to kick off the second phase of its compliance audits this past fall. However, officials revealed in September that the program would be delayed. At the time, officials blamed the audit delays on technology still being rolled out that would allow the agency to collect documentation related to the audits from covered entities through a web portal.

A change in leadership may have had something to do with the delays, as well. The office named a new director, Jocelyn Samuels, last July, so it is likely the new leadership needed some time to settle in before starting the next phase of audits. Other experts believe the office had been operating on a tight budget recently, but that problem will soon be resolved.

However, all signs indicate that the Office of Civil Rights is preparing to give the green light to round two of audits, which means health care organizations across the country need to be prepared. If you could use sound legal assistance on preparing for federal HIPAA audits, contact the knowledgeable NJ, NY, and PA health care compliance attorneys at Buttaci Leardi & Werner LLC.

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Posted in: Compliance