AIS FOIA Request Provides Inside Look at OCR Investigative Tactics
Atlantic Information Services, Inc. (AIS) - December 10, 2014 - Washington, DC

In continuing coverage of a recently announced settlement between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and a nonprofit health system that left boxes of patient files on a former doctor’s driveway after a planned acquisition of the doctor’s practice fell apart, Atlantic Information Services, Inc.’s (AIS) Report on Patient Privacy conducted a review of hundreds of documents related to the case (Complaint Number 09-99157), obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. As detailed in RPP’s December issue, the documents provide an inside look into how the agency conducts investigations and the processes the agency uses to develop a resolution agreement.

For its part, OCR was very thorough, RPP found: not contacting Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Parkview Health System, Inc. until it had amassed a great deal of information, nearly two years after Dr. Christine Hamilton filed her complaint. Then-Acting Regional Manager for OCR Region V Celeste Davis made multiple requests for data from Parkview, including information on how the hospital handled previous acquisitions and specific details on each of the various steps regarding Dr. Hamilton’s files, including those who negotiated the “potential” purchase as well as who decided Parkview should not go through with it.

The most revealing documents RPP obtained were those that address how OCR decided which regulations were violated, what penalties to apply, and what a corrective action plan (CAP) would look like. The documents show changes over time, RPP found, likely as a result of negotiations with Parkview. As the number of violations dropped, so did the settlement amounts and the length and breadth of the CAP. Although OCR ultimately signed an agreement with Parkview for $800,000 and a one-year CAP, OCR did appear to have successfully pressed for the highest level of penalty, willful neglect not corrected.

Visit http://aishealth.com/archive/hipaa1214-01 to read the article in its entirety. The resolution agreement can be found on OCR’s website at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/enforcement/examples/hhs-parkview-r....

About Report on Patient Privacy
Report on Patient Privacy is the health industry’s #1 source of timely news and business strategies for safeguarding patient privacy and data security. Published for hospitals and other providers, health plans and other HIPAA-covered entities and business associates, the 12-page newsletter focuses on privacy issues that can result in huge fines, penalties and public relations nightmares, including: security breach notification; business associate relations and agreements; and new federal privacy rules for marketing, fundraising, privacy notices, minimum necessary, patient rights and safeguarding privacy in EHRs. Visit http://aishealth.com/marketplace/report-patient-privacy for more information.

About Atlantic Information Services
Atlantic Information Services, Inc. (AIS) is a publishing and information company that has been serving the health care industry for more than 25 years. It develops highly targeted news, data and strategic information for managers in hospitals, health plans, medical group practices, pharmaceutical companies and other health care organizations. AIS products include print and electronic newsletters, websites, looseleafs, books, strategic reports, databases, webinars and conferences. Learn more at http://AISHealth.com.

Contact
Jill Brown, Executive Editor
Atlantic Information Services, Inc.
(202) 775-9008, ext. 3058
jbrown@aishealth.com

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