The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) settled five new investigations as part of its right to access initiative.
Five entities have entered into resolution agreements and agreed to adopt corrective action plans to resolve potential violations of HIPAA Privacy Rule's right of access provision. The five settlements are part of the agency’s 2019 right to access initiative which sought to support individuals’ rights to have timely access to their medical records at a reasonable cost. OCR has been taking steps to combat information blocking.
Housing Works, Inc. Housing Works, Inc.—a non-profit that provides health, career, and legal aid for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS—will pay the OCR $38,000 and adopt a corrective action plan to resolve allegations that Housing Works, Inc. failed to provide an individual with a copy of his medical record. The patient filed a complaint with the OCR in June 2019 and, as a result of the investigation, received a copy of his medical record in November 2019 (Resolution Agreement, June 22, 2020).
All Inclusive Medical Services, Inc. All Inclusive Medical Services, Inc.—a multi-specialty family medicine clinic—will pay the OCR $15,000 and adopt a corrective action plan to resolve allegations that the clinic denied a patient’s requests to inspect and receive a copy of her records. The clinic allegedly refused to provide the medical record in January 2018 and, as a result of the OCR investigation, the patient received a copy of her record in August 2020 (Resolution Agreement, July 15, 2020).
Beth Israel Lahey Health Behavioral Services. Beth Israel Lahey Health Behavioral Services (BILHBS)—the largest network of mental health and substance use disorder services in eastern Massachusetts—will pay the OCR $70,000 and adopt a corrective action plan to resolve allegations that BILHBS failed to respond to a February 2019 request from a personal representative seeking access to her father's medical records. As a result of the investigation, the representative received a copy of the records in October 2019 (Resolution Agreement, August 7, 2020).
King MD. King MD—a small health care provider of psychiatric services in Virginia—will pay the OCR $3,500 and adopt a corrective action plan to resolve allegations that the provider failed to respond to an individual's August 2018 request for access to her medical records. The OCR investigated the issue after a second complaint in February 2019 indicated the patient still had not received her records. As a result of the investigation, the patient received her records in July 2020 (Resolution Agreement, August 20, 2020).
Wise Psychiatry, PC. Wise Psychiatry, PC will pay the OCR $10,000 and adopt a corrective action plan to resolve allegations that Wise Psychiatry did not provide a personal representative with access to his minor son's medical records when requested in November 2017. The OCR provided Wise Psychiatry with technical assistance regarding HIPAA right of access in April 2018, and closed the complaint at that time. However, in October 2018, the OCR received a second complaint indicating that the representative still had not received the records. As a result of the investigation, the personal representative did receive a copy of the medical records in May 2019 (Resolution Agreement, August 21, 2020).
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