HIPAA Horror Stories

Slow Compliance Costs Big Bucks

one-minute read

A Florida Hospital is the first target in fed’s “Right to Access” push

A Florida hospital became the first to get hit by the federal government’s push to improve patient access to records, known as “Right To Access.”

Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, a Level 2 trauma center with 480 beds and 550 affiliated physicians, took nine months to provide an expectant mother with requested medical records for her child.

Right To Access within 30 Days

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) rules allow 30 days maximum.

Bayfront agreed to pay $85,000 to settle the case.

The Office for Civil Rights, the agency responsible for HIPAA violation investigations, was notified of Bayfront’s failure to comply when the mother made a formal complaint.

Right To Access covers minor children

In its settlement agreement, OCR Director Roger Severino noted that a patient’s right to access medical records extends to the medical records of a minor child.

 “We aim to hold the health care industry accountable for ignoring peoples’ rights to access their medical records and those of their kids,” said Severino.

In a previous post, we explained that a patient’s Right to Access medical records comes down to three questions:

  1. Are you sending records via email when requested?
  2. Are you taking too long?
  3. Are you charging too much?

Check your state rules

Answers to these questions vary state-by-state. In California, for instance, records must be produced within 15 days of the formal request.

In addition to the monetary penalty, Bayfront must undergo one-year of OCR monitoring and comply with an extensive corrective action plan.

Corrective Action Plans can more expensive and distracting to manage than the monetary penalty.

You can examine Bayfront’s corrective action plan here.

How fast is your business complying with records requests? Do you have a plan? If the answer to any of these questions makes you nervous, give us a call!

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