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Health entity fined for failure to provide timely patient records

A medical center in St. Petersburg, Florida, is the first to face enforcement action by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for failing to promptly provide a patient with medical records. The HHS Office for Civil Rights announced early this year that it would vigorously enforce its Right of Access Initiative that allows patients to receive copies of their medical records promptly and without being overcharged.

In addition to paying an $85,000 fine to the OCR, Bayfront Health St. Petersburg has adopted a corrective action plan, which includes one year of monitoring, to settle a potential violation of the right of access provision of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Rules. The OCR states that the medical center failed to provide a patient timely access to records of her unborn child. The records were provided more than nine months after the initial request when the OCR launched its investigation.

In California, providers have 15 calendar days to provide a copy of a patient’s records and five business days to produce the record for an in-person review. The state regulation is stricter than the 30-day requirement outlined in HIPAA regulations. Failure to provide a patient access to their records is one of the five top complaints received by the OCR.

For more information on laws governing patient record requests, reference the CDA Practice Support resource “Patient Request To Access Records (Records Release) Form and Q&As” located in the resource library at cda.org/practicesupport.

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