A Florida provider has agreed to pay HHS' Office for Civil Rights $85,000 for allegedly neglecting to share a patient's medical records with their preferred third party, even after the agency assisted, the OCR said Thursday.
The incident marks the second settlement the OCR has reached as part of its "Right of Access Initiative," an effort the agency launched earlier this year to ensure patients have access to their medical records as mandated under HIPAA.
The OCR in March received a complaint that Korunda Medical, a Florida provider of primary care and interventional pain management services, had allegedly not sent a patient's medical records to a third party in a timely manner and in the requested electronic format, despite the patient asking numerous times.
Korunda also charged more than the "reasonably cost-based fees allowed under HIPAA," according to the OCR.
To resolve the issue, the OCR said it provided Korunda with technical assistance. However, after continued issues, the agency received another complaint that Korunda had not provided the requested records.
The records were provided to the requested third party for free in May after the OCR's second intervention, the agency said.
Korunda did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
"For too long, healthcare providers have slow-walked their duty to provide patients their medical records out of a sleepy bureaucratic inertia," OCR Director Roger Severino said in a statement. "We hope our shift to the imposition of corrective actions and settlements under our Right of Access Initiative will finally wake up healthcare providers to their obligations under the law."
Under HIPAA, providers are required to give their patients requested medical records within 30 days and without a hefty charge.
The "Right of Access Initiative" is reflective of a larger push by the Trump administration to give patients easier access to their medical information. The first settlement the OCR announced under the initiative, which it reached in September, involved a Florida hospital that allegedly failed to provide a pregnant woman with the prenatal health records of her unborn baby.