HHS Steps Up Law Enforcement with New Audit

ATLANTA – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) conducted an audit of Atlanta’s Piedmont Hospital, demanding information about data security, a move some experts believe is only the beginning of tighter measures to enforce federal legislation.

According to Computerworld, last March, Piedmont received a list with 42 items the HHS wanted information on, including Internet usage, access to systems and data, and security violations by employees.

Although other measures have been taken, this marks the first time the HHS has conducted an audit to enforce the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) passed in April 2005. Federal privacy laws require organizations with electronic health data protect access to confidential medical information.

According to Computerworld,The audit may inspire other healthcare organizations to improve their security, but some doubt many will follow suit. HHS may not have the manpower to conduct them frequently.

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