The Department of Health and Human Services announced on February 24 that it is seeking information about conducting a pre-audit survey. That is, it plans to “survey of up to 1200 [HIPAA] covered entities (health plans, health care clearinghouses, and certain health care providers) and business associates (entities that provider certain services to a HIPAA covered entity) to determine suitability for the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) HIPAA Audit Program.” (emphasis added) Many covered entities and business associates will be wondering, of course, whether their compliance efforts are “suitable” to survive an audit.

In any event, the survey would gather information about size, complexity, and fitness of a covered entity or business associate for an audit. Questions in the survey likely will relate to data such as the number of patient visits or insured lives, use of electronic information, revenue, and business locations.

At this point, the survey is not on its way to you. The agency is seeking comments about (1) the necessity and utility of the proposed survey for the proper performance of its functions, (2) the accuracy of the estimated burden, (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected, and (4) the use of automated collection techniques or other technology to minimize the information collection burden. If you would like to submit comments on these issues, you can do so by emailing them to Information.CollectionClearance@hhs.gov to be received no later than April 25, 2014. You also can call (202) 690–6162.