OCR settles 1st HIPAA Right of Access case with Bayfront

The Office for Civil Rights issued its first settlement Sept. 9 for its Right of Access Initiative, a rule which requires hospitals to provide patients with copies of their medical records promptly and without being overcharged.

Bayfront Health St. Petersburg (Fla.) agreed to pay $85,000 for violating the Right of Access rule. The OCR began investigating an incident at the hospital after a mother complained that she was unable to gain access to her unborn child's records.

After more than nine months from her first request, the mother received copies of the child's medical records.

The new HIPAA rule requires healthcare providers to release medical records to patients within 30 days of the request. Additionally, providers must only charge a reasonable cost-based fee.

Along with paying the settlement, Bayfront will undergo a corrective action plan, which includes one year of monitoring by the OCR.

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