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OCR investigation tip: Get your facts straight

The following is the second in a series of tips to follow if the OCR investigates your facility.

Ensure that you have a clear understanding of what has happened and convey that to government investigators, Andrew B. Serwin, Esq., a partner at Foley & Lardner, LLP's Washington, DC, office, said at the February HIPAA Summit. "It is usually to your benefit to have the agency understand the facts as you understand them."

"You can't underestimate the importance of getting your facts right," said Peter McLaughlin, Esq., senior counsel at Foley & Lardner, LLP's Boston office, who joined Serwin for the summit presentation. Don't create a credibility problem by changing your story down the line, he said.

Consider requesting confidentiality for documents you turn over to investigators, said Serwin. The federal Freedom of Information Act allows individuals to request to see documents that are part of an investigation. If you've requested confidentiality, the government may release redacted documents, with certain information, such as patient names, removed.