Covered Entities and Business Associates may be breathing a little easier lately, after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) made public the detailed audit protocols used by KPMG during the first round of random audits. The protocols contain some surprises, but, at a minimum, their publication ends what had been a nonpublic process. Covered entities and business associates alike should review the protocols even if they were not selected for an audit during this past cycle; the protocols offer some surprising indications of government enforcement priorities and provide a fairly granular "road map" of HHS OCR's interests.
The protocols are substantial – 77 individual entries dealing with HIPAA security and 88 individual entries dealing with Privacy and Breach. They are also somewhat difficult to review in detail on OCR's website – each entry is truncated in the main display and must be "clicked on" before the full text is displayed. In an "unofficial" version prepared by the authors, available at www.ober.com [PDF], the protocols are presented in a more usable format and have been edited stylistically for space purposes.
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