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HIPAA Right to Access spotlighted in recent NY case

Government enforcement efforts have proven successful with yet another Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) case. In this most recent case, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) settled with a New York spinal group over allegations the group failed to abide by HIPAA rules.

How did this case start?

The patient filed a complaint with the OCR. In this complaint, she stated the spinal group failed to provide medical records in a timely manner and, when they did, that they intentionally withheld diagnostic films that were specifically mentioned within her request. As such, she accused the group of violating the laws’ Right to Access initiative.

The Rights to Access initiative states that upon request, medical providers should send patients their records in a timely manner. It also states that the provider should not over charge for copies of the records. Based on this complaint the agency completed an investigation and found enough evidence to support the patient’s claim.

What happened next?

Once the agency gathered evidence, they decided to move forward with a HIPAA violation case against the medical practice. When presented with the evidence, the medical practice decided it was best to settle the claim and move forward instead of fighting the allegations in a lengthy court battle.

What was the settlement?

Ultimately, the group agreed to pay approximately $100,000 to settle the claim.

Private practices throughout the state are wise to take note of this case. This is just one in a series of recent government prosecutions for HIPAA violations. The government is taking these allegations seriously, and those who are accused of a potential violation can face a steep financial penalty.

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