According to Data Privacy Monitor and FierceHealthIT, Jerome B. Meites, Office of Civil Rights Chief Regional Counsel for the Chicago Area, said at an American Bar Association Conference that the OCR’s clampdown on HIPAA violations over the next year will be unlike anything we’ve seen in recent years.
While HIPAA violation fines have been rather small compared to most estimates of yearly totals, the OCR will be looking to send a strong message through higher-profile cases that will create a resounding impact on the healthcare industry. The OCR wants the industry to know that HIPAA is not a law to be reckoned with.
In the last year, OCR has imposed record fines on many healthcare entities so as to push the agenda. Since June 1, 2013, nine settlements have amounted to more than $10 million. As the OCR continues their audits, they have said that there will be fewer onsite visits, but a much sharper focus and a heavier hand. Meites also told the American Bar Association Conference that the OCR has a list of more than 1,200 candidates that may be audited in the coming year.
As the number of exposed health records - since federal reporting began in 2009 – has risen to 31.7 million people, it is highly important that each and every organization have a custom HIPAA compliance plan that will suit their individual needs and protect all healthcare privacy and security rights.