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Three hospitals settle potential HIPAA violations concerning film crews

October 10, 2018 Image of HIPAA kitWashington — The federal government reached separate settlements with three Massachusetts health centers that allegedly compromised the privacy of patients' protected health information by permitting a TV film crew into the centers without first obtaining authorization from patients.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights announced Sept. 20 that it reached the settlements with Boston Medical Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. The three hospitals allowed film crews on the
premises to film "Boston Med," an ABC network documentary series.

Collectively, the three entities paid the Office of Civil Rights $999,000 to settle potential violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act privacy rule.

This is the second OCR HIPAA case involving an ABC medical documentary television series. The previous incident resulted in the Office for Civil Rights' 2016 settlement with New York-Presbyterian Hospital in association with the filming of "NY Med." In that case, the New York hospital agreed to pay $2.2 million for allegedly disclosing patients' protected health information by allowing a television crew to film patients without their permission, according to an ADA News story on the settlement.

Each of the health centers is required to provide workforce training as part of a corrective action plan that will include OCR guidance on disclosures to film and media.

The respective resolution agreements and corrective action plans are available on the HHS website.

The ADA Center for Professional Success contains members-only resources on HIPAA at Success.ADA.org/HIPAA.

To help dentists implement a step-by-step HIPAA compliance program, the ADA offers the ADA Complete HIPAA Compliance Kit. Readers can save 15 percent on the HIPAA kit and all ADA Catalog products with promo code 18143 until Dec. 21. To order, visit ADAcatalog.org or call 1-800-947-4746.