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In the News Press Release

Privacy and Security Audits May Be Moving From Education to Enforcement

Publisher: Bloomberg BNA's Privacy Law Watch
March 2, 2017

Eric Fader was quoted in an article, "Privacy and Security Audits May Be Moving From Education to Enforcement," in Bloomberg BNA's Privacy Law Watch. The article reported that the Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights' ongoing HIPAA privacy and security audits may be moving from education to enforcement, and providers need to ensure that their compliance and operational teams are working together to detect vulnerabilities. While the OCR's official statements have consistently referred to the audits as being primarily educational, Fader said he's assuming that if the office discovers something egregious in the course of an audit, it will be swiftly converted into an enforcement action. He added, "If and when the phase two desk audits results reveal other types of problems that OCR hasn't yet considered, we're likely to see those problems highlighted in settlements, perhaps with some sort of guidance published by the OCR either previously or concurrently." Fader said he expected that the increased number and size of HIPAA settlements in 2016 would continue through 2017, and said he wouldn't be surprised to see the OCR increase cooperation with other agencies, like the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission, to expand the breadth of HIPAA enforcement and education.

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