HIPAA (the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act) is well known to all health care providers, as it governs the privacy of patient information, among other things. The basic parameters of the Privacy Rule should be known to all providers who handle protected health information (“PHI”).

The Office of Civil Rights for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“OCR”) has launched a new audit initiative to make sure that health care providers are complying with HIPAA. Concerning its initiative, OCR says, “OCR’s audits will enhance industry awareness of compliance obligations and enable OCR to better target technical assistance regarding problems identified through the audits.” Providers would be well advised to ensure that they are ready for a HIPAA audit and are in full compliance with the Privacy Rule.