AIS FOIA Request Provides Inside Look at OCR Investigative Tactics

Washington, DC (PRWEB) December 10, 2014

In continuing coverage of a recently announced settlement between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and a nonprofit health system that left boxes of patient files on a former doctors driveway after a planned acquisition of the doctors practice fell apart, Atlantic Information Services, Inc.s (AIS) Report on Patient Privacy conducted a review of hundreds of documents related to the case (Complaint Number 09-99157), obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. As detailed in RPPs December issue, the documents provide an inside look into how the agency conducts investigations and the processes the agency uses to develop a resolution agreement.

For its part, RPP found, OCR was very thorough: not contacting Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Parkview Health System, Inc. until it had amassed a great deal of information, nearly two years after Dr. Christine Hamilton filed her complaint. Then-Acting Regional Manager for OCR Region V Celeste Davis made multiple requests for data from Parkview, including information on how the hospital handled previous acquisitions and specific details on each of the various steps regarding Dr. Hamiltons files, including those who negotiated the potential purchase as well as who decided Parkview should not go through with it.

The most revealing documents RPP obtained were those that address how OCR decided which regulations were violated, what penalties to apply, and what a corrective action plan (CAP) would look like. According to RPP, the documents show changes over time, likely as a result of negotiations with Parkview. As the number of violations dropped, so did the settlement amounts and the length and breadth of the CAP. Although OCR ultimately signed an agreement with Parkview for $ 800,000 and a one-year CAP, OCR did appear to have successfully pressed for the highest level of penalty, willful neglect not corrected.

Visit to read the article in its entirety. The resolution agreement can be found on OCR’s website at

About Report on Patient Privacy

Report on Patient Privacy is the health industrys #1 source of timely news and business strategies for safeguarding patient privacy and data security. Published for hospitals and other providers, health plans and other HIPAA-covered entities and business associates, the 12-page newsletter focuses on privacy issues that can result in huge fines, penalties and public relations nightmares, including: security breach notification; business associate relations and agreements; and new federal privacy rules for marketing, fundraising, privacy notices, minimum necessary, patient rights and safeguarding privacy in EHRs. Visit for more information.

About Atlantic Information Services

Atlantic Information Services, Inc. (AIS) is a publishing and information company that has been serving the health care industry for more than 25 years. It develops highly targeted news, data and strategic information for managers in hospitals, health plans, medical group practices, pharmaceutical companies and other health care organizations. AIS products include print and electronic newsletters, websites, looseleafs, books, strategic reports, databases, webinars and conferences. Learn more at

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