December 2020 HIPAA Violations Roundup
One More OCR Settlement for 2020
After a busy second half of the year in terms of Office of Civil Rights (OCR) within Health and Human Services (HHS) settlements for HIPAA violations, there has been one last HIPAA violation settlement that was reached to close out 2020. Following the overwhelming theme for the year, this settlement was also under the Right of Access Initiative, making it the thirteenth total settlement under this standard and the eleventh this year alone.
In the month of December, only one HIPAA settlement was reached between a primary care practice and the OCR. Here are all the details:
Thirteenth Right of Access Settlement
Elite Primary Care - Peter Wrobel M.D., P.C.
Dr. Peter Wroble, operating under Elite Primary Care in Georgia, reached a $36,000 settlement with the OCR following a potential violation of the HIPAA Right of Access Initiative. In April 2019, a complaint was received by the OCR that a patient’s request for his medical records was not fulfilled. The OCR stepped in in May to provide technical assistance to Elite so that they could better handle Right of Access incidents in the future and then closed the complaint.
Unfortunately, in October of 2019, the OCR received a second complaint from the same patient alleging that he still had not received access to the medical records as requested back in April. An investigation was launched at this point which determined that Elite had potentially violated the Right of Access Standard. Ultimately the patient did receive his medical records in the end, however that did not happen until May 2020, just over a year from the initial request.
Elite Primary Care will follow a corrective plan, which includes two full years of monitoring, in addition to their monetary penalty. The resolution agreement and corrective plan can be found here.