The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (“HHS”) just announced a $125,000 settlement for a disclosure of patient protected health information (“PHI”) to a reporter.

In 2015, a patient of Allergy Associates of Hartford, P.C. (“Allergy Associates”) contacted a local TV station about a dispute that the patient had with Allergy Associates regarding her use of a service animal.  A reporter for the TV station contacted Allergy Associates for comment, and Allergy Associates disclosed the patient’s PHI to the reporter.

After the disclosure, HHS initiated an investigation and notified Allergy Associates.  Even after it was notified of the investigation, Allergy Associates failed to discipline the individual who had disclosed the patient’s PHI.

To settle the matter, Allergy Associates has agreed to pay HHS $125,000 and enter into a Corrective Action Plan.

You can read the HHS Press Release and the Resolution Agreement here: https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/compliance-enforcement/agreements/allergyassociates/index.html

If your office would like guidance on how it can prevent HIPAA violations from occurring, please contact Danielle Dietrich via email,telephone: 412-594-5605 or on Twitter at @DLDietrich, or any of our other attorneys at the firm.