Sandy Springs lab pays $16,500 settlement to remedy HHS investigation

A woman did not receive her deceased father’s medical records until seven months after requesting them.

A Sandy Springs diagnostic lab has paid a $16,500 settlement to the Department of Health and Human Services, after being accused of denying access to medical records to an authorized person.

In August 2021, a federal complaint was filed against Life Hope Labs by a woman who said she was denied access to her deceased father’s medical records even though she was authorized to receive them.

According to a complaint filed with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the woman initially requested her father’s records on July 7, 2021, and did not receive them until February 16, 2022.

An investigation found that Life Hope Labs’ delivery of the medical records in an untimely manner was a potential violation of the HIPAA right of access provision.

To resolve the department’s investigation, the company agreed to implement a corrective action plan and pay $16,500. With the corrective action plan, Life Hope Labs will be monitored by the HHS’ Office of Civil Rights for two years.

“Access to medical records, including lab results, empowers patients to better manage their health, communicate with their treatment teams, and adhere to their treatment plans,” said OCR Director Melanie Fontes Rainer in a department press release. “The HIPAA Privacy Rule gives individuals and personal representatives a right to timely access their medical records from all covered entities, including laboratories.”

The Atlanta Journal Constitution was unable to reach Life Hope Labs for comment.

The investigation is the 43rd to be resolved under the OCR’s HIPAA Right of Access Initiative, which is meant to increase compliance with privacy laws.

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