This week the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced the resolution of four investigations related to the HIPAA privacy rule.
Two cases were part of the HIPAA Right of Access, bringing the total number of enforcement actions to twenty-seven since the initiative began. Another case included misuse of social media in response to a negative review.
- A solo dental practitioner in Butler, Pennsylvania, failed to provide a patient with a copy of their medical record. After being issued a Notice of Proposed Determination, the doctor requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. The litigation was resolved before the court made a determination by a settlement agreement in which the doctor agreed to pay $30,000 and take corrective actions to comply with the HIPAA Privacy Rule’s right of access standard.
- A dental practice with offices in Charlotte and Monroe, North Carolina, impermissibly disclosed a patient’s PHI on a webpage in response to a negative online review. The practice did not respond to OCR’s data request, did not respond or object to an administrative subpoena, and waived its rights to a hearing by not contesting the findings in OCR’s Notice of Proposed Determination. OCR imposed a $50,000 civil money penalty.
- A dental practice in Fairhope, Alabama, who impermissibly disclosed its patients’ PHI to a campaign manager and a third-party marketing company hired to help with a state senate election campaign, agreed to take corrective action and pay $62,500 to settle potential violations of the HIPAA Privacy Rule.
- A psychiatric medical services provider with two office locations in California, agreed to take corrective actions and pay OCR $28,000 to settle potential violations of the HIPAA Privacy Rule, including provisions of the right of access standard.
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