How can your organization become and remain compliant with the HIPAA standards? Is your hospital ready for an audit? A new audit pilot program could increase the number of HIPAA audits conducted.

The Office of Civil Rights through the HITECH Act requires HHS to conduct audits periodically to ensure hospitals are adhering to the guidelines and standards set forth in HIPAA. These audits are scheduled to begin December 2012. Based upon these findings, a more permanent audit program will be created. The pilot program will audit 115 hospitals. All hospitals should treat HIPAA audits just as they would any accreditation survey, by always knowing the HIPAA standards and protocols and utilizing them in all applicable areas of the organization. The current practice is for an organization to have 15 days, from the time they receive notification of the audit, to prepare any documentation to prove HIPAA compliance.

According to Becker’s Hospital Review,, there are 9 steps to follow to achieve success with a HIPAA audit:

  1. Become familiar with the protocols related to the audit
  2. Maintain excellent documentation that is always current
  3. Review results from audits conducted during the initial pilot
  4. Assess current HIPAA program governance
  5. Update the risk analysis
  6. Conduct mock audits
  7. Change your mindset
  8. Focus on the spirit of the audit
  9. Discuss the process with other hospitals

The number of HIPAA audits will increase exponentially over the next few years, which will make everyday compliance necessary. Sometimes it is necessary to engage a healthcare compliance consultant to help muddle through the complexities of HIPAA compliance. BHM Healthcare Solutions offers as one of our many services HIPAA compliance.

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