A medical laboratory is the latest health care provider nailed under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Right of Access Initiative for violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule’s right of access requirements.
OCR announced the 43rd access rule settlement with Life Hope Labs, LLC (“Life Hope Labs”), a full-service diagnostic laboratory in Sandy Springs, Georgia Tuesday.
In August 2021, a complaint was filed with OCR alleging that Life Hope Labs would not provide a personal representative with a copy of her deceased father’s medical records. The personal representative first requested access to her father’s records on July 7, 2021, but did not receive them until February 16, 2022, over seven months later. OCR’s investigation determined that Life Hope Labs’ failure to provide timely access to the requested medical records was a potential violation of the HIPAA right of access provision.
The access rule requires that patients be able to access their health information in a timely manner.
In its Resolution Agreement, Life Hope Labs agreed to pay $16,500 to resolve this investigation. In addition to the monetary settlement, Life Hope Labs also agreed to implement a corrective action plan that includes two years of monitoring by OCR.
In announcing its filing of the settlement, OCR warned other labs and health care providers to ensure their right of access compliance.
“Access to medical records, including lab results, empowers patients to better manage their health, communicate with their treatment teams, and adhere to their treatment plans. The HIPAA Privacy Rule gives individuals and personal representatives a right to timely access their medical records from all covered entities, including laboratories,” said OCR Director Melanie Fontes Rainer in OCR’s announcement of the settlement. “Laboratories covered by HIPAA must follow the law and ensure that they are responding timely to records access requests.”
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About the Author
Recognized by her peers as a Martindale-Hubble “AV-Preeminent” (Top 1%) and “Top Rated Lawyer” with special recognition LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell® as “LEGAL LEADER™ Texas Top Rated Lawyer” in Health Care Law and Labor and Employment Law; as among the “Best Lawyers In Dallas” for her work in the fields of “Labor & Employment,” “Tax: ERISA & Employee Benefits,” “Health Care” and “Business and Commercial Law” by D Magazine, Cynthia Marcotte Stamer is a practicing attorney board certified in labor and employment law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and management consultant, author, public policy advocate and lecturer widely-known for 35 plus years of health industry and other management work, public policy leadership and advocacy, coaching, teachings, and publications.
A Fellow in the American College of Employee Benefit Counsel, Chair of the American Bar Association (“ABA”) International Section Life Sciences and Health Committee, Chair-Elect of the ABA TIPS Section Medicine & Law Committee, Past Chair of the ABA Managed Care & Insurance Interest Group, Scribe for the ABA JCEB Annual Agency Meeting with HHS-OCR, past chair of the ABA RPTE Employee Benefits & Other Compensation Group and current co-Chair of its Welfare Benefit Committee, Ms. Stamer is most widely recognized for her decades of pragmatic, leading-edge work, scholarship and thought leadership on health and managed care and employer benefits legal, public policy and operational concerns in the healthcare, employer benefits, and insurance and financial services industries. She speaks and publishes extensively on HIPAA and other related compliance issues.
Ms. Stamer’s work throughout her career has focused heavily on working with health care and managed care, health and other employee benefit plan, insurance and financial services and other public and private organizations and their technology, data, and other service providers and advisors domestically and internationally with legal and operational compliance and risk management, performance and workforce management, regulatory and public policy and other legal and operational concerns.
For more information about Ms. Stamer or her health industry and other experience and involvements, see www.cynthiastamer.com or contact Ms. Stamer via telephone at (214) 452-8297 or via e-mail here.
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