By Art Gross, President and CEO, HIPAA Secure Now!
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The Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is responsible for enforcing and protecting civil rights and privacy rights in the healthcare industry. With the increasing number of complaints and reviews regarding the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, the OCR has recently undergone restructuring to manage the volume of cases more efficiently. This restructuring involves the formation of three new divisions to focus on specific areas of the OCR’s responsibilities.
The first division is the Customer Service Division (CSD), which is responsible for receiving and resolving complaints from individuals and entities. The CSD will be the initial point of contact for individuals who have complaints regarding HIPAA and HITECH violations. The division will also be responsible for educating individuals about their rights under HIPAA and HITECH.
The second division is the Enforcement Division (ED), which is responsible for investigating and enforcing the HIPAA and HITECH rules. This division will work closely with the CSD to investigate complaints and determine whether there have been any violations. The ED will have the power to impose civil monetary penalties for HIPAA and HITECH violations.
The third division is the Health Information Privacy Division (HIPD), which is responsible for developing policies and guidance regarding the HIPAA and HITECH rules. The HIPD will work to ensure that healthcare entities understand and comply with HIPAA and HITECH regulations. Additionally, it will also provide guidance to the CSD and ED to ensure that complaints and investigations are handled correctly.
This restructuring of the OCR will provide more efficient and effective management of HIPAA and HITECH complaints and reviews. The formation of these new divisions will allow for a more streamlined approach to investigating and enforcing the HIPAA and HITECH rules. The OCR’s commitment to protecting individuals’ privacy rights and civil rights in the healthcare industry remains steadfast. This restructuring will only serve to strengthen the OCR’s mission.
This article was originally published on HIPAA Secure Now! and is republished here with permission.