The total budget request (PDF) for the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) is $83 billion. This includes $43 million for the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) which is a $4 million increase over the 2015 budget. The increase will help support the permanent HIPAA audit process.
OCR conducted a pilot program to ensure that its audit functions could be performed in the most efficient and effective way, and in FY 2015 will continue designing, testing, and implementing its audit function to measure compliance with privacy, security, and breach notification requirements,” according to the authors of the budget brief report. “Audits are a proactive approach to evaluating and ensuring HIPAA privacy and security compliance.”
OCR continues to use HIPAA fines to expand the audit process
OCR has authority to enter into resolution agreements that include payment of a resolution amount and corrective action plans, as well as imposing civil monetary penalties for violations of the HIPAA Rules. OCR collected $8 million in settlements in FY 2014 – an amount based on several unusually large agreements – and anticipates collecting $5.5 million in settlements in FY 2015. OCR retains and expands these collections to support overall HIPAA enforcement activities,”
For those who wrote off the HIPAA audits due to delays, this should be a wake-up call. The audits are going to happen and if the budget is approved, should increase in scope in 2016. Now is the time to prepare your organization.
Free HIPAA Security Training!
All Covered Entities and Business Associates need to train their employees on HIPAA security. We now offer free online HIPAA security training for Covered Entities and Business Associates. Find out more about our free training and send the information to ALL your colleagues and Business Associates.
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