HHS Announces New Divisions within the OCR

Big news: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), announced the formation of a new Enforcement Division, Policy Division, and Strategic Planning Division.

The OCR will now reflect the structure set by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights

Why did the HHS form three new divisions? “OCR’s caseload has multiplied in recent years, increasing to over 51,000 complaints in 2022– an increase of 69 percent between 2017 and 2022,” said OCR Director Melanie Fontes Rainer. “…reorganization improves OCR’s ability to effectively respond to complaints, puts OCR in line with its peers’ structure, and moves OCR into the future.”

The Strategic Planning Division will coordinate public outreach to protect civil rights and health information privacy. They will also expand data analytics and coordinate data collection across HHS leadership. With the OCR being proactive and educating the public on their rights, now would be the time to make sure you are being proactive with HIPAA compliance.

The Importance of HIPAA Compliance

HIPAA violations can result in severe consequences, including fines, legal action, and damage to a healthcare organization’s reputation. Plus, it keeps our patients’ sensitive health information safe and private. Therefore, it is critical for healthcare providers and organizations to prioritize HIPAA compliance and regularly review and update their policies and procedures to ensure they are in line with the latest regulations.

Getting (and Staying) Compliant

Your Security Risk Analysis is the first thing the OCR asks for when they come knockin’. So why not beat them to the punch? With a Security Risk Analysis, you can:

  • identify and assess potential threats and vulnerabilities to protected health information (PHI)
  • evaluate the effectiveness of your organization’s security measures and policies

A HIPAA Security Risk Analysis is an ongoing process that must be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that the organization remains in compliance. And the MSV’s partners at Abyde automate the entire process for you.

Abyde is the leader in HIPAA & OSHA compliance education and solutions for independent Medical practices. MSV members gain access to complimentary educational consultations, HIPAA/OSHA resources and special pricing for the Abyde software solution.

If you’re ready to make compliance stress-free, reach out to Abyde today.