October 15, 2020

OCR Settles Two HIPAA Right of Access Initiative Cases

HHS OCR continues its enforcement of HIPAA’s right of access provision by recently settling its eighth enforcement action with Phoenix-based St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center for $160,000. St. Joseph allegedly took almost 2 years to provide copies of the patient’s medical records. As patient care and satisfaction receive most of the attention across healthcare, HHS has highlighted the fact that many patients face impediments with the simple act of obtaining a copy of their own medical chart.

In a second case, HHS OCR has announced that it has settled its ninth enforcement actions related to its HIPAA Right of Access Initiative with, NY Spine Medicine, a private medical practice specializing in neurology and pain management with offices in New York and Florida. NY Spine Medicine agreed to take corrective actions and pay $100,000. The investigation of NY Spine Medicine arose from a complaint from an individual alleging that she had made multiple requests for her medical records from NY Spine Medicine but did not receive the diagnostic films that she had specifically requested. OCR determined that the failure to provide timely access to all of the patient’s records was a potential violation of the right of access standard. In 2019, OCR announced that enforcing individuals’ right to access to their health records at a reasonable cost as provided under the HIPAA Privacy Rules would be an enforcement priority. 

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