By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On December 15, 2022, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office for Civil Rights (OCR), announced that Health Specialists of Central Florida, Inc., will pay $20,000 to resolve alleged violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule’s right of access standard.

The primary care provider also agreed to a corrective action plan (CAP) with two years of monitoring.

It is extremely important that Florida physicians and health professionals remember that there is a federal law requirement under HIPAA that requires the timely furnishing of a health record requested by a patient. You must be sure to meet the deadline, but, more importantly, document that you have met it. Use cover letters, obtain receipts when possible, and document the date you provided the record in the record.

Click here to view the press release issued by the OCR.

Right of Access Standard.

OCR first launched an investigation into Health Specialists of Central Florida after the daughter of a deceased patient filed a complaint in November 2019. The complainant made a written access request for her father’s medical records but did not receive them for nearly five months, and only after multiple requests.

The HIPAA right of access standard requires covered entities to respond to requests for records within 30 days of receipt or 60 days if it obtains an extension of time. OCR’s guidance on the right of access is available here.

The Settlement.

In addition to the monetary settlement, Health Specialists of Central Florida will undertake a corrective action plan (CAP) that includes two years of monitoring. The CAP requires the practice to develop, maintain, and revise its written privacy procedures and policies, distribute them to the workforce, and review and update its right of access to PHI policy.

This case marks the 42nd case resolved under OCR’s HIPAA Right of Access Initiative. To view the settlement agreement and CAP, click here.

 

Contact a Health Law Attorney Experienced in Defending HIPAA Complaints and Violations.

The attorneys of The Health Law Firm represent physicians, dental practices, medical groups, nursing homes, home health agencies, pharmacies, hospitals, and other healthcare providers and institutions in investigating and defending against HIPAA investigations and complaints and in preparing Corrective Action Plans (CAPs).

For more information about HIPAA violations, electronic health records or corrective action plans (CAPs) please visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com or call (407) 331-6620 or toll-free (888) 331-6620.

Sources:

Health Law Weekly. “Florida Primary Care Provider to Pay $20,000 to Resolve Right of Access Probe.” AHLA. (December 16, 2022). Web.

Giles, Bruce. “Florida primary care practice fined HHS $20K for not giving timely access to patient data.” Becker’s Hospital Review. (December 16, 2022). Web.

McKeon, Jill. “OCR Resolves HIPAA Right of Access Case With FL Primary Care Practice.” Health IT Security. (December 16, 2022). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave. Suite 1000, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620 or Toll-Free: (888) 331-6620.

Current Open Positions with The Health Law Firm. The Health Law Firm always seeks qualified individuals interested in health law. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. If you are a current member of The Florida Bar or a qualified professional who is interested, please forward a cover letter and resume to: PAlexander@TheHealthLawFirm.com or fax them to (407) 331-3030.

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