An article in Bloomberg BNA’s Health Care Fraud Report and other publications, “Trump Budget Anticipates Spending, Net Savings From Fighting Health Fraud,” pointed out that while the Trump administration’s recent budget request calls for increased anti-fraud funding, HIPAA investigations could languish due to a $6 million cut at the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR). Day Pitney’s Eric Fader was quoted in the article.
The budget request would allocate $33 million for the OCR, down from $39 million for the prior year. The OCR’s staff would also be cut from 179 to 162 full-time personnel. Eric told Bloomberg BNA that the proposed reductions in both funding and staffing would seem to be a missed opportunity, assuming they actually go into effect.
“There are certainly more than enough HIPAA and HITECH [Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act] violations to keep the current number of people busy, and financial settlements with violators could potentially bring in a good return on the investment in personnel, not to mention the inherent value of helping to improve compliance,” Eric said.