New York physician pays $15K to settle HIPAA Right of Access violation 

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A New York physician agreed Nov. 13 to pay HHS' Office for Civil Rights a $15,000 fine for failing to provide a patient timely access to their medical records. 

Rajendra Bhayani, MD, who operates a private otolaryngology practice in Regal Park, N.Y., agreed to the settlement for violating the HIPAA Right of Access standard, which requires providers to give patients access to their health records quickly and without being overcharged. The settlement marks OCR's 11th settlement under the initiative since closing its first case in September 2019. 

OCR received a complaint in September 2018 alleging that Dr. Bhayani failed to meet a patient's medical records access request in July 2018. The agency then provided Dr. Bhayani with technical assistance on how to comply with the right of access requirements and closed the complaint. However, in July 2019, OCR received a second complaint claiming that Dr. Bhayani had not provided the patient with access to her records. OCR determined that the physician's failure to provide the requested health records was a violation of the right of access standard. 

"Doctor’s offices, large and small, must provide patients their medical records in a timely fashion," OCR Director Roger Severino said. "We will continue to prioritize HIPAA Right of Access cases for enforcement until providers get the message." 

As a result of the OCR investigation, the patient received a complete copy of her medical records in September 2020. In addition to paying the monetary fine, Dr. Bhayani will undergo a two-year corrective action plan monitored by the OCR. 

 

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