The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) continues its enforcement activities to emphasize compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule’s “right to access” provision. In the past, OCR has focused on hospitals, health systems, and other traditional medical providers. Recently, OCR settled three enforcement actions against dental practices. As stated by OCR Director Melanie Fontes, “These three right of access actions send an important message to dental practices of all sizes that are covered by the HIPAA Rules to ensure they are following the law.”
OCR’s recent enforcement actions focus on a patient’s right to access his or her medical records in a timely manner (in most situations, 30 days). Failure to comply with this provision can subject a dental practice to monetary fines and the implementation of a corrective action plan.