HIPAA right of access: In what looks like a new trend, another costly settlement

Eight may not be enough to get the message across, as the U.S. Health and Human Services has now reached that number of settlements with providers nationwide in the year-plus since it began enforcing HIPAA’s right of access provision.

HHS Office for Civil Rights announced this week that Dignity Health – doing business as St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center – will pay $160,000 to settle a potential violation of that provision of the HIPAA Privacy Rule. 

On April 25, 2018, OCR received a complaint about Phoenix-based SJHMC. It was from a mother who alleged that, starting in January of that year, she made multiple requests to the health systems for a copy of her son’s medical records, since she was his personal representative.

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While SJHMC provided some of the requested health records, it didn’t give her all of them, despite repeated requests over the next four months.

As a result of OCR’s investigation, SJHMC did finally supply the mother with all of the medical records she’d requested, December 19, 2019 – nearly two years after her first request.

To settle the potential HIPAA