Three Boston-area hospitals collectively paid just under $1 million to settle allegations that they violated HIPAA by improperly disclosing patients’ identities and other protected health information during onsite filming of a television network documentary. According to the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR)’s September 20, 2018 press release, the three hospitals – Boston Medical Center (BMC), Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) – permitted film crews to film an ABC television network documentary series on premises without first obtaining authorizations from patients. Collectively, the three hospitals paid $999,000 to settle potential violations of the HIPAA Privacy Rule, with BMC paying $100,000, BWH paying $384,000, and MGH paying $515,000.
In a recent speech outlining the Trump Administration’s healthcare regulatory reform efforts, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar announced that the Administration will soon begin considering changes to federal health privacy regulations. (more…)