The Office of Civil Rights now has subpoena powers to investigate medical privacy violations

he Secretary of Health and Human Services has delegated to the Director of OCR the authority to issue subpoenas in investigations of alleged violations of the HIPAA Privacy Rule and of the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005.

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Office of the Secretary

Office for Civil Rights; Delegations of Authority

Notice is hereby given that I have delegated to the Director of the Office for Civil Rights the following authority vested in the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

A. Subpoenas for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996: Authority under Section 205(d) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 405(d)), with authority to redelegate, to issue subpoenas requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of any evidence that relates to any matter under investigation or compliance review for failure to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) standards and requirements related to the privacy of individually identifiable health information at 45 CFR parts 160 and 164.

{The Secretary of HHS just gave the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) the power to subpoena testimony and witnesses when the HIPAA Privacy Rule or the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 are violated. Although the government has been extremely lax in going after privacy violators to date, the majority of medical privacy violations reported to OCR have not violated the HIPAA Privacy Rule, because HIPAA has almost no privacy rights to enforce.  In 2002, the HIPAA Privacy Rule eliminated the right of consent and legalized access to every American’s medical records by 600,000-800,000 health-related businesses and government agencies, without consent, without notice, and even over consumer’s objections. ~ Dr. Deborah Peel, Patient Privacy Rights}

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