On April 3, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) released an alert warning covered entities and business associates of an individual posing as an OCR Investigator to obtain protected health information. According to the alert, “[t]he individual identifies themselves as an OCR Investigator on the telephone, but does not provide an OCR complaint transaction number or any other verifiable information relating to an OCR investigation.”

HIPAA covered entities and their business associates are encouraged to warn their workforce of potential scams and remind them of basic verification steps, such as asking for the Investigator’s email address (which will end in @hhs.gov) and asking for a confirmation email sent from the Investigator’s hhs.gov email.

Organizations can send questions and concerns to OCRMail@hhs.gov. Additionally, suspected incidents of individuals impersonating federal law enforcement should be reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”). The FBI has also released a public service announcement regarding COVID-19-related fraud schemes.

Photo of Anna D. Kraus Anna D. Kraus

Anna Durand Kraus has a multi-disciplinary practice advising clients on issues relating to the complex array of laws governing the health care industry. Her background as Deputy General Counsel to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) gives her broad experience…

Anna Durand Kraus has a multi-disciplinary practice advising clients on issues relating to the complex array of laws governing the health care industry. Her background as Deputy General Counsel to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) gives her broad experience with, and valuable insight into, the programs and issues within the purview of HHS, including Medicare, Medicaid, fraud and abuse, and health information privacy. Ms. Kraus regularly advises clients on Medicare reimbursement matters, the Medicaid Drug Rebate program, health information privacy issues (including under HIPAA and the HITECH Act), and the challenges and opportunities presented by the Affordable Care Act.

Tara Carrier

Tara Carrier advises clients on a variety of health care compliance matters, including fraud and abuse, health information privacy and compliance with HIPAA, promotion and advertising, market access, pricing and reimbursement activities, and other related areas. She routinely advises on regulatory compliance and…

Tara Carrier advises clients on a variety of health care compliance matters, including fraud and abuse, health information privacy and compliance with HIPAA, promotion and advertising, market access, pricing and reimbursement activities, and other related areas. She routinely advises on regulatory compliance and enforcement risk, commercial transactions, and administrative and legislative policy opportunities. Tara also has experience counseling clients on investigations and compliance matters, including implementing and operating under HHS OIG Corporate Integrity Agreements.