The HHS’ Office for Civil Rights has reported reaching a settlement with Village Plastic Surgery based in Ridgewood, NJ to resolve potential HIPAA Right of Access violations. Based on the conditions of the settlement, Village Plastic Surgery is going to pay $30,000 as penalty and will follow a corrective action plan and implement policies and procedures in connection with access to protected health information (PHI). OCR is going to supervise Village Plastic Surgery to make sure of compliance for two years.
OCR started investigating Village Plastic Surgery after receiving a complaint from one of the practice’s patients on September 7, 2019. The patient submitted a request to get a copy of his/her health records from the plastic surgery practice however the patient did not get any copy within the time stipulated in the HIPAA Privacy Rule. OCR provided intervention in the process of its investigation, Village Plastic Surgery failed to give the patient with the asked for documents.
OCR investigators established that the practice’s inability to deliver the documents promptly, which was beyond the 30 permitted days for responding to patient requests for their health records, violated the HIPAA Right of Access, as specified in 45 C.F.R. § 164.524. Since OCR intervened, the patient did get a copy of the required documents. Village Plastic Surgery settled the case withut admitting liability.
OCR’s Right of Access Initiative won’t stop supporting and upholding consumer’s rights to obtain copies of their health records promptly, stated by Acting OCR Director Robinsue Frohboese. It is a must for covered entities to keep their HIPAA obligations. OCR will take proper corrective actions if they don’t.
Since the Right of Access enforcement initiative began in 2019, this is now the 18th settlement announced by OCR that pertain to resolving HIPAA Right of Access violations. For this year 2021, this is the 6th HIPAA penalty to be enforced and the 5th to resolve a HIPAA Right of Access violation.