What led to the OCR settlement agreement?
After receiving two separate complaints from patients alleging that Banner Health ACE violated the right of access, OCR launched an investigation into the organization. The first complaint alleged that a patient requesting her records in December 2017 did not receive her records until May 2018. The second complaint alleged that a patient requesting his records in September 2019 did not receive access to his records until February 2020.
“This first resolution of the year signals that our Right of Access Initiative is still going strong and that providers of all sizes need to respect the right of patients to have timely access to their medical records,” said OCR Director Roger Severino.
What is the HIPAA Right of Access?
The HIPAA right of access requires healthcare organizations to provide patients access to their medical records when requested. The right of access mandates that records are provided to the patient in the format requested within 30 days of the request. In 2019, OCR announced its “HIPAA right of access initiative,” in which they prioritized enforcement of the standard. Since this announcement, OCR has fined fourteen organizations for failing to comply with the standard.