OCR Issues Guidance on Access to PHI – Providers and ROI Companies Beware

On February 25, 2016, the Office of Civil Rights, which enforces the HIPAA privacy rules, released lengthy guidance on a patient’s right to access their medical records under 45 CFR §164.524.  The link to the guidance is http://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/privacy/guidance/access/index.html.  The publication also includes a number of FAQs addressing copy fees, including “What labor costs may a covered entity include in the fee that may be charged to individuals to provide them with a copy of their PHI?”, “How can covered entities calculate the limited fee that can be charged to individuals to provide them with a copy of their PHI?”, and “When do the HIPAA Privacy Rule limitations on fees that can be charged for individuals to access copies of their PHI apply to disclosures of the individual’s PHI to a third party?”

Providers will get a sense for OCR’s perspective from the following FAQ comment, “Further, while the Privacy Rule permits the limited fee described above, covered entities should provide individuals who request access to their information with copies of their PHI free of charge.”

BSW is planning a webinar in the near future on this guidance.  If you’d like to receive notice of that webinar, please contact Sharon.Stickling@bswllp.com.

Written by: Greg Frost


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