Today, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the resolution of five investigations in its Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Right of Access Initiative, bringing the total number of these enforcement actions to twenty-five since the initiative began. OCR created this initiative to support individuals' right to timely access their health records at a reasonable cost under the HIPAA Privacy Rule.
HIPAA gives people the right to see and get copies of their health information from their healthcare providers and health plans. After receiving a request, an entity that is regulated by HIPAA has, absent an extension, 30 days to provide an individual or their representative with their records in a timely manner.
“Timely access to your health records is a powerful tool in staying healthy, patient privacy and it is your right under law,” said OCR Director Lisa J. Pino. “OCR will continue its enforcement actions by holding covered entities responsible for their HIPAA compliance and pursue civil money penalties for violations that are not addressed.”
OCR has taken the following enforcement actions that underscore the importance and necessity of compliance with the HIPAA Right of Access:
- Advanced Spine & Pain Management (ASPM), which provides management and treatment of chronic pain services in Cincinnati and Springboro, Ohio, has agreed to take corrective actions that include two years of monitoring, and has paid OCR $32,150 to settle a potential violation of the HIPAA Privacy Rule's right of access standard;
- Denver Retina Center, a provider of ophthalmological services in Denver, CO, has agreed to take corrective actions that includes one year of monitoring and has paid OCR $30,000 to settle a potential violation of the HIPAA Privacy Rule's right of access standard;
- Dr. Robert Glaser, a cardiovascular disease and internal medicine doctor in New Hyde Park, NY, did not cooperate with OCR’s investigation or respond to OCR’s data requests after failing to provide a patient with a copy of their medical record. Dr. Glaser waived his right to a hearing and did not contest the findings of OCR’s Notice of Proposed Determination. Accordingly, OCR closed this case by issuing a civil money penalty of $100,000.
- Rainrock Treatment Center, LLC dba Monte Nido Rainrock (“Monte Nido”), a licensed provider of residential eating disorder treatment services in Eugene, OR, has taken corrective actions including one year of monitoring and has paid OCR $160,000 to settle a potential violation of the HIPAA Privacy Rule's right of access standard.
- Wake Health Medical Group, a provider of primary care and other health care services in Raleigh, NC, has agreed to take corrective actions and has paid OCR $10,000 to settle a potential violation of the HIPAA Privacy Rule's right of access standard.
Individuals who think their HIPAA rights have been violated have the right to file a complaint with OCR and may find more information on their rights under the Privacy Rule here.