Monday, March 14, 2011

HHS/OCR Gets Serious About Enforcing HIPAA Privacy Rule

Government Information Security has an educational interview with Susan McAndrew, the person responsibile for implementing and enforcing the HIPAA privacy rule. Her overall message was "there will be enforcement consequences for failure to comply with HIPAA privacy and security obligations." Here are some of the most interesting quotes from the deputy director of the Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights.

On the recent fines for violations of the privacy rule:
"we will be vigorously enforcing these requirements, and, with the increased penalties that are available to use under the HITECH Act, covered entities need to pay attention and take whatever steps they can to prevent complaints in the first place by meeting their obligations to the fullest." - Susan McAndrew deputy director of the HHS/OCR
On plans to train state attorneys general on how to file federal HIPAA civil lawsuits.
"It is always the hope that once they fully appreciate what the HIPAA privacy and security rules are all about that they will be anxious to add them to the general privacy protections that already exist in their state." - Susan McAndrew deputy director of the HHS/OCR
On the OCRs investigations into the more than 240 major health information breaches reported under the HITECH Act breach notification rule.
"To the extent that there is a need to enter into a long-term resolution agreement and corrective action plan with the covered entity to properly remedy what happened, we will do so." - Susan McAndrew deputy director of the HHS/OCR
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Sources:
(a) OCR's McAndrew on Enforcing HIPAA - www.govinfosecurity.com, March, 2011

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