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Fined for privacy rule violations | Dentist Beverly Hills, Dentist Los Angeles
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Fined for privacy rule violations

Posted by Z Dental Group - February 25th, 2011

Washington—A Maryland health center and insurer was fined $4.3 million for denying patients access to their medical records and failure to cooperate with an Office for Civil Rights investigation, the Department of Health and Human Services said. It was the first civil money penalty issued by HHS for a covered entity’s violations of the HIPAA Privacy Rule.

The Office for Civil Rights found that Cignet Health of Prince George’s County, Md., violated 41 patients’ rights by denying them access to their medical records when requested. The patients individually filed complaints with the civil rights agency, which investigated the complaints. The HIPAA Privacy Rule requires that a HIPAA covered entity provide a patient with a copy of their medical records within 30 and no later than 60 days of the patient’s request.

HHS issued a notice of proposed determination Oct. 20, 2010 and announced the notice of final determination and civil money penalty Feb. 22, 2011. The penalty is authorized by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, HHS said. The privacy rule was issued under the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

The penalty includes $1.3 million for failure to provide patients copies of their medical records and $3 million for failure to cooperate with OCR investigations, HHS said.

For more information on HIPAA penalties, see Q&A examines HIPAA penalties.

The ADA Practical Guide to HIPAA Compliance: Privacy and Security Kit contains information about dental office HIPAA compliance and includes sample policies, forms and logs. For more information about the ADA HIPAA Kit, visit www.adacatalog.org or call the ADA at 1-800-947-4746.

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