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Do the HIPAA Rules require CSPs that are business associates to provide documentation, or allow auditing, of their security practices by their customers who are covered entities or business associates?


No. The HIPAA Rules require covered entity and business associate customers to obtain satisfactory assurances in the form of a business associate agreement (BAA) with the CSP that the CSP will, among other things, appropriately safeguard the protected health information (PHI) that it creates, receives, maintains or transmits for the covered entity or business associate in accordance with the HIPAA Rules.  The CSP is also directly liable for failing to safeguard electronic PHI in accordance with the Security Rule[1] and for impermissible uses or disclosures of the PHI.[2]  The HIPAA Rules do not expressly require that a CSP provide documentation of its security practices to or otherwise allow a customer to audit its security practices.   However, customers may require from a CSP (through the BAA, service level agreement, or other documentation) additional assurances of protections for the PHI, such as documentation of safeguards or audits, based on their own risk analysis and risk management or other compliance activities.

[1] See Section 13401 of the HITECH Act.

[2] See 45 CFR § 164.502(a)(3).

Content created by Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
Content last reviewed on October 6, 2016