Client Alert: OCR Prioritizes Enforcement of HIPAA Right of Access

Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP
Contact

Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP

The Office for Civil Rights ("OCR") has turned its focus on individuals' right to timely access to their health records at a reasonable cost under the HIPAA Privacy Rule. Settling eight enforcement actions this year, the OCR is making a clear statement that it should not take federal intervention for patients to be provided with copies of their medical records.

The latest settlement involves Dignity Health, doing business as St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center (“SJHMC”), a large, acute care hospital with several hospital-based clinics based in Phoenix, Arizona. SJHMC has agreed to take corrective actions and pay $160,000 to settle a potential violation of the HIPAA Privacy Rule's right of access provision.

On April 25, 2018, OCR received a complaint from a mother alleging that beginning in January 2018, she made multiple requests to SJHMC for a copy of her son’s medical records, as his personal representative. SJHMC provided some of the requested records, but despite the mother’s follow up requests in March, April, and May 2018, SJHMC did not provide all of the requested records. OCR initiated an investigation and determined that SJHMC’s actions were a potential violation of the HIPAA right of access standard. As a result of OCR’s investigation, SJHMC sent all of the requested medical records to the mother on December 19, 2019, more than 22 months after her initial request. 

The resolution agreement and corrective action plan may be found at: https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/sjhmc-racap.pdf. If you have questions about your practice’s or facility’s medical record policy, you should consult an experienced health care lawyer. Entities that use medical records subcontractors should also periodically review the performance of these subcontractors to avoid non-compliance that may implicate your facility or practice. The OCR has been assertive about its enforcement authority and this is only likely to continue as “timely access” has been a stated priority for OCR.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP
Contact
more
less

Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP on:

Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
- hide
- hide

This website uses cookies to improve user experience, track anonymous site usage, store authorization tokens and permit sharing on social media networks. By continuing to browse this website you accept the use of cookies. Click here to read more about how we use cookies.