June OCR Settlements
The theme continues! The OCR is slowly but surely working through all of the Right of Access potential violations that have been reported to them. These consistent settlements should serve as an important reminder to all covered entities that you must have an effective and efficient system for providing your patients with their medical records upon request. These settlements are time-consuming and costly so take this as a reminder to do the work to prevent your organization from having to deal with one of these sticky situations in the future!
The Diabetes, Endocrinology & Lipidology Center, Inc. (“DELC”)
On June 2nd, the OCR reached a settlement with the Diabetes, Endocrinology & Lipidology Center, Inc, or “DELC” for short due to a potential HIPAA Right of Access violation. DELC, a Virginia-based treatment center for Endocrine disorders, has agreed to pay $5,000 and submit to a corrective plan and 2 years of monitoring as a result of this incident.
This began in August 2019 when the OCR received a complaint from an individual which alleged that DELC had failed to fulfill a parent’s request for a copy of their minor child’s protected health information. The mother requested her child’s records in July 2019 and then submitted the complaint to the OCR when it had not been fulfilled within the required 30-day window.
Following the complaint, the OCR launched an investigation into DELC’s operations and concluded that they did fail to fulfill their duty to provide quick and easy access to patients’ own information. As a result of the investigation and settlement, this individual did receive their child’s PHI in May 2021, almost 2 whole years since their initial request.
In response to this case, acting OCR Director Robinsue Frohboese said, “It should not take a federal investigation before a HIPAA covered entity provides a parent with access to their child’s medical records, covered entities owe it to their patients to provide timely access to medical records.” Attached here is more information on the resolution agreement and corrective action plan that DELC will submit to, with monitoring, for the next 2 years.