HHS aims to cut down backlog of healthcare probes

Federal officials said Feb. 27 they are creating new divisions within the HHS Office for Civil Rights as part of efforts to shrink a growing backlog of healthcare investigations.

Americans filed 51,000 complaints with OCR last year — a 69 percent increase between 2017 and 2022 — with 27 percent alleged violations of civil rights, 7 percent alleged violations of conscience/religious freedom, and 66 percent alleged violations of health information privacy and security laws, HHS announced. 

The formation of new divisions "improves OCR's ability to effectively respond to complaints, puts OCR in line with its peers' structure and moves OCR into the future," OCR Director Melanie Fontes Rainer said in a news release. 

The OCR enforces 55 civil rights, conscience and privacy statutes, including HIPAA and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009. 

Under the restructuring, OCR will reorganize responsibilities of the health information privacy, operations and resources, civil rights, and conscience and religious freedom divisions into new policy, strategic planning and enforcement divisions, HHS said.

Federal officials said this approach allows for direct engagement between policy, enforcement and investigations, and is consistent with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars