US HHS settles investigation in HIPAA Right of Access Initiative

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it settled its ninth enforcement action related to its Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Right of Access Initiative. In 2019, the OCR designated this initiative as an enforcement priority to support individuals’ right to access to their health records in a timely manner and at a reasonable cost under the HIPAA privacy rule. Health clinic NY Spine Medicine agreed to take corrective actions and pay USD$100 000 to settle a potential violation of the right to access standard set out in the HIPAA privacy rule. In July 2019, a complaint was submitted to the OCR from a patient alleging that she had made multiple requests to NY Spine Medicine to access her medical records, and while NY Spine Medicine provided some of the records, it did not provide the diagnostic films that the patient had specifically requested. As a result of the investigation by the OCR, the complainant received all the medical records she requested in October 2020.