HIPAA 2019 digest

By: Yasmina Makh



Let’s remember last year and it’s HIPAA-challenges and lessons.

The main change of 2019 was that HIPAA regulation updating of maximum penalties increasing and focusing on timely providing patients’ access to their medical records.

A year ago in April 2019, Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights issued a notice of enforcement discretion regarding the penalties. So 10 financial penalties about $12,274,000 have been paid to resolve HIPAA violation cases in 2019.

That is more than twice less than the previous 2018 record year for HIPAA enforcement. That year the final total for fines and settlements was $28,683,400, which beat the previous record set in 2016 by 22%.


Also 2019 saw the launch of a new HIPAA Right of Access enforcement initiative targeting organizations who were overcharging patients for copies of their medical records and were not providing copies of medical records in a timely manner in the format requested by the patient.


Citizen Health organization found that 51% of healthcare organizations were not fully compliant with the HIPAA Right of Access. Delays providing copies of medical records, refusals to send patients’ PHI to their nominated representatives or their chosen health apps, not providing a copy of medical records in an electronic format, and overcharging for copies of health records are all common HIPAA Right of Access failures. There is a reason for improving patient access to medical data in 2020.


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