New “Right of Access Initiative” Snares Florida Provider.
It was a simple ask: “please email my medical records to my new physician.” But Korunda Medical, didn’t take its patient request seriously.
The resulting Office for Civil Rights (OCR) investigation cost Korunda, a health care provider serving over 2,000 Florida patients, $85,000 and a lot of bureaucratic headaches in the form of a lengthy corrective action plan.
Instead of simply sending a secure digital version of its patient’s records as required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act’s (HIPAA) new Right of Access Initiative, Korunda stalled, overcharged for the records, and ultimately sent the document in the wrong format.
It would have been understandable that Korunda failed to comply with a new HIPAA initiative, had it been the first time the company was flagged for its poor service. It turns out that OCR had received complaints early in the year and reached out to Korunda with training.
When OCR received more complaints about Korunda after the training, however, it launched its HIPAA investigation.
The Right of Access Initiative was launched in early 2019 to address patient complaints that providers were ignoring, blocking, stalling and over-charging-for reasonable medical record requests.
The Right of Access Initiative focuses on three areas of medical record access:
- quick fulfillment of the request
- reasonable fees for the service
- fulfillment in a format of the patient’s choice
The Right of Access Initiative promises to “vigorously enforce the rights of patients to get access to their medical records promptly, without being overcharged, and in the readily producible format of their choice.”
Korunda failed on all three Right of Access Initiative points
“For too long, healthcare providers have slow-walked their duty to provide patients their medical records out of a sleepy bureaucratic inertia,” said Roger Severino, OCR Director.
“We hope our shift to the imposition of corrective actions and settlements under our Right of Access Initiative will finally wake up healthcare providers to their obligations under the law,” Severino concluded.