More Providers Fined for HIPAA Right of Access Violations

HHS’ Office of Civil Rights has fined yet another provider for failing to deliver a patient’s medical records in a timely fashion.

Renown Health, P.C., a private, not-for-profit health system in Nevada, has agreed to take corrective actions and pay $75,000 to settle a potential violation of the HIPAA Privacy Rule’s right of access standard.

In February 2019, OCR received a complaint alleging that Renown Health failed to timely respond to a patient’s request that an electronic copy of her protected health information, including billing records, be sent to a third party.  OCR’s investigation determined that Renown Health’s failure to provide timely access to the requested records was a potential violation of the HIPAA right of access standard.  As a result of OCR’s investigation, Renown Health provided access to all of the requested records.

In addition to the monetary settlement, Renown Health will undertake a corrective action plan that includes two years of monitoring.  Click here to read a copy of the resolution agreement and corrective action plan.

The Right of Access rule “generally requires HIPAA covered entities (health plans and most health care providers) to provide individuals, upon request, with access to the protected health information (PHI) about them in one or more “designated record sets” maintained by or for the covered entity. This includes the right to inspect or obtain a copy, or both, of the PHI, as well as to direct the covered entity to transmit a copy to a designated person or entity of the individual’s choice.”

The OCR has treated the HIPAA Right of Access Initiative as an enforcement priority since 2019, although many “non-essential” enforcement actions have slowed or paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While enforcement may be slow in the near future, as the country re-opens enforcement actions will undoubtedly increase.

Although you probably have other issues on your mind as the pandemic continues to rage, now is a good time to remind your staff about HIPAA Right of Access. Don’t let your practice be featured in the next press release from HHS!