Prep for OCR Scrutiny As HIPAA Continues 2015 Reviews

Posted on 21 Sep, 2015 |comments_icon 3|By Chris Boucher

There is no sign that HIPAA will slow down on audits.

Even halfway through the year, HIPAA compliance continues to be at the top of every practice’s must-watch list.

The rub: It’s tough to know where to focus your compliance reviews. Experts offer advice on one particular area of compliance that HIPAA will continue to focus on: the HHS Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR) audit program.

Find out what the experts have to say about staying ahead of these audits, which could sink your practice’s smooth compliance sailing if you aren’t ready for them.

(Look for further news about HIPAA audits in future blog posts.)

Expect Continued OCR Audits

One of the biggest trends for HIPAA compliance this year has been dealing with the OCRs’ stepped-up audit program. The Affordable Care Act and Meaningful Use programs also both pose unique security challenges to the healthcare industry.

Beware: “The attention and enforcement actions from OCR are likely to be on an order that U.S. providers and other covered entities [CEs] simply haven’t seen before, and it’s going to take many by surprise,” cautioned Mark Fulford in new blog post for LBMC Security & Risk Services. If OCR finds you not in compliance with HIPAA requirements, the consequences may be serious.

“We expect OCR to exercise new levels of scrutiny and enforcement in order to identify healthcare organizations’ particular risks,” Fulford said. Further, OCR will take steps to ensure that you mitigate risks and respond to rising threats.

Also, use of the OCR online complaint system will continue to increase this year, thanks to a $2 million budget increase for OCR in fiscal year 2015, noted attorney Elizabeth Litten in a blog post for the law firm Fox Rothschild. This will result in increased OCR compliance investigations, audits, and enforcement actions.


Chris Boucher

Chris Boucher has nearly 10 years of experience writing various newsletters and other products for The Coding Institute. His blog will cover several areas of coding and compliance, including CPT® coding, modifiers, HIPAA compliance and ICD-10 coding.

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