HIPAA Compliance: California Medical Center Sanctioned for Statements to Media and Workforce

In a June 13, 2013 press release, The Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) announced that Shasta Regional Medical Center (“SRMC”) has agreed to pay $275,000 and implement a comprehensive corrective action plan to settle an investigation concerning potential violations of the HIPAA Privacy Rule.  The HHS Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) investigation revealed that SRMC senior officials released a patient’s protected health information to multiple media outlets, including the Los Angeles Times and the California Watch, without a valid authorization.  Senior management also released the patient’s PHI in an email to the entire workforce and medical staff of SRMC, approximately 785-900 individuals.  The affected patient’s medical condition, diagnosis, and treatment were all described in the email.  OCR Director Leon Rodriguez stated in the press release that “when senior level executives intentionally and repeatedly violate HIPAA by disclosing identifiable patient information, OCR will respond quickly and decisively to stop such behavior.”

OCR’s news release on the SRMC resolution agreement can be found here.

The resolution agreement can be found here.

About Bose McKinney & Evans LLP

Bose McKinney & Evans LLP is a business law firm, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, serving both publicly held and privately held businesses, governmental entities and high-growth industries. Our clients include Fortune 100 companies, international manufacturers, national and regional financial institutions, agribusinesses, sports teams, university-incubated start-ups, media, utilities, cities and schools, to name a few. We strive to build strong relationships with our clients as key business advisors, to exceed expectations in the quality of our work, to be knowledgeable about our clients’ businesses and sectors, to be responsive to service needs and to continually seek to improve the delivery of client services. Our ultimate focus is on our clients.
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