HHS OCR creates new HIPAA enforcement arm and enhances focus on cybersecurity and privacy oversight

Marcy Wilder, Scott Loughlin, Melissa Bianchi, Paul Otto, and Alyssa Golay of Hogan Lovells write:

This week the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the agency responsible for HIPAA enforcement, announced the formation of three new divisions within the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”). The new divisions – Enforcement, Policy, and Strategic Planning – are intended to enhance focus and efficiency in conducting HIPAA compliance reviews, developing policies related to HIPAA and health privacy, promulgating regulations, providing technical assistance, and educating the public about health privacy and cybersecurity requirements.

As noted in the press release, the new divisions and restructuring of resources will help support the significant increase in OCR’s caseload, which rose 69% between 2017 and 2022, and align its structure with other federal civil rights offices.

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