OCR Settles Three Cases with Dental Practices for Patient Right of Access under HIPAA

Last month, the Office of Civil Rights announced three settlements with dental practices involving patient requests for copies of medical records.  OCR noted in its press release that “these … actions send an important message to dental practices of all sizes that are covered by the HIPAA Rules.”

There are at least two useful lessons in these matters.  One practice provided only parts of the record.  While providers can ask a patient to clarify whether they want all or only specific parts, the patient has the right to get all if they ask for it.  In another case, the practice demanded the copy charge allowed by state law and refused to provide the copies until that charge was paid.  OCR took the position that those state-set charges “were not reasonable and cost-based” as required by 45 CFR 164.824.

The cased involved dental practices in Georgia, Nevada, and Illinois, and the settlements were $25,000, $30,000, and $80,000. 

Written by Gregory D. Frost

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