OCR Reports to Congress on HIPAA Compliance and Breaches of Unsecured Protected Health Information

Posted by BAS - 28 March, 2024


The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) recently issued two reports to Congress on Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) compliance and enforcement. These reports, required by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009, play an important role in encouraging the privacy and security standards of protected health information.

The first report focuses on HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rule Compliance, outlining the minimum required safeguards for protected health information and individuals' rights concerning their health data access. Notably, it sheds light on OCR's investigative efforts into complaints, breach reports, and compliance reviews, providing insights into areas of noncompliance and emerging trends, such as cybersecurity readiness.

The second report addresses breaches of Unsecured Protected Health Information, spotlighting the number and nature of breaches reported to HHS Secretary. It underscores the requirement of covered entities to enhance compliance with HIPAA Security Rule requirements, particularly in areas like risk analysis, information system activity review, and response protocols.

In a statement, OCR Director Melanie Fontes Rainer emphasized the significance of these reports, urging covered entities to proactively address potential compliance issues. Rainer highlighted the importance of staying abreast of HIPAA trends to mitigate risks of breaches and OCR investigations.

Highlighted in the reports are staggering figures: in 2022 alone, OCR received over 30,000 complaints, resolving a significant portion with corrective actions and monetary penalties. Hacking incidents emerged as the leading cause of breaches affecting the most individuals, underscoring the ongoing cybersecurity challenges.

These reports not only provide valuable data for regulatory compliance but also serve as a call to action for covered entities to bolster their data security measures in an ever-evolving digital landscape.

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Topics: HIPAA, MyEnroll360 Security, MyEnroll360 Application, Cybersecurity

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