Parkview Health System Inc. has agreed to pay an $800,000 fine to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights to settle potential HIPAA violations related to medical records.
The agency Monday said it opened an investigation after receiving a complaint from a retiring physician alleging Parkview violated the HIPAA – Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act – privacy rule.
In June 2009, the department said, 71 cardboard boxes of medical records containing data from up to 8,000 patients were left unattended and accessible in the driveway of Dr. Christine Hamilton, who was not home at the time.
Hamilton was transitioning her patients to new providers when the dump occurred.
“All too often we receive complaints of records being discarded or transferred in a manner that puts patient information at risk,” Christina Heide, acting deputy director of health information privacy at the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights, said in a statement.
“It is imperative that HIPAA covered entities and their business associates protect patient information during its transfer and disposal.”
In addition to the $800,000, the settlement includes a corrective action plan requiring Parkview to revise its policies and procedures, train staff and provide an implementation report to the department.
For more on this story, see Tuesday’s print edition of The Journal Gazette or visit www.journalgazette.net after 3 a.m. Tuesday.