OCR's Important Notice Regarding Individuals’ Right of Access to Health Records
On, January 28th, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) issued this notice:
"On January 25, 2013, HHS published a final rule entitled “Modifications to the HIPAA Privacy, Security, and Enforcement Rules Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act; Other Modifications to the HIPAA Rules.” (2013 Omnibus Rule). A portion of that rule was challenged in federal court, specifically provisions within 45 C.F.R. §164.524, that cover an individual’s access to protected health information. On January 23, 2020, a federal court vacated the “third-party directive” within the individual right of access “insofar as it expands the HITECH Act’s third-party directive beyond requests for a copy of an electronic health record with respect to [protected health information] of an individual . . . in an electronic format.” Additionally, the fee limitation set forth at 45 C.F.R. § 164.524(c)(4) will apply only to an individual’s request for access to their own records, and does not apply to an individual’s request to transmit records to a third party.
The right of individuals to access their own records and the fee limitations that apply when exercising this right are undisturbed and remain in effect. OCR will continue to enforce the right of access provisions in 45 C.F.R. § 164.524 that are not restricted by the court order. A copy of the court order in, No. 18-cv-0040 (D.D.C. January 23, 2020), may be found at https://ecf.dcd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/show_public_doc?2018cv0040-51."