It was recently announced that training for state attorneys general on how to file a HIPAA federal civil lawsuit will be offered this spring. Thought the HITECH Act enabled state attorneys general to file the federal lawsuits, not many such actions have been taken apart from a few cases like the lawsuit filed by former Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who is now a U.S. senator, against insurer Health Net.
Training for attorneys general and their staffs will be offered in four regional meetings from April through June, said Susan McAndrew, deputy director for health information privacy at the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights. The first event will be April 4-5 in Dallas. OCR will pay all expenses for two members of each state’s attorney general’s office to attend the training, McAndrew said at the National HIPAA Summit in Washington.
The training will help ensure “that state attorneys general will be better prepared to carry out their new authority under the HITECH Act in enforcing HIPAA,” McAndrew said.
Training will be offered in Atlanta and Washington in May and San Francisco in June. “Once those meetings are completed, we’ll have computer-based training available as well,” McAndrew explained.
Also speaking at the HIPAA Summit was Valerie Morgan-Alston, who recently was named OCR’s first-ever deputy director for enforcement and regional operations. The creation of the position by OCR Director Georgina Verdugo is part of a reorganization that places a new emphasis on enforcement, Morgan-Alston stressed. “We are serious about HIPAA enforcement.”