OCR settles HIPAA Right of Access case with Dignity Health for $160K

The Office for Civil Rights issued its eighth settlement Oct. 7 for its HIPAA Right of Access Initiative.

Dignity Health, doing business as St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, agreed to pay $160,000 for violating the Right of Access rule, which requires healthcare organizations to provide patients with copies of the medical records quickly and at a reasonable cost.

On April 25, 2018, OCR received a complaint from a mother claiming that she made multiple requests to SJHMC starting in January 2018 for a copy of her son's medical records. While the hospital provided some of the records, the mother had to send follow up requests for the rest of the records in March, April and May 2018.

OCR launched an investigation into the incident and determined that SJHMC potentially violated the HIPAA right of access standard. The hospital eventually sent all the requested records to the mother on Dec. 19, 2019, as a result of the investigation.

Along with the financial settlement, SJHMC will undergo a corrective action plan that includes two years of monitoring by the OCR.

OCR settled its first HIPAA Right of Access case in September 2019.

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