NYC Hospital Settles ‘NY Med’ Privacy Claims

NEW YORK (CN) – A New York City hospital agreed to pay a $2.2 million fine for disclosing two patients’ information to producers of the ABC show “NY Med.”
     The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced the settlement agreement with New York-Presbyterian Hospital on April 21.
     The family of Mark Chanko sued the hospital after Anita Chanko watched her husband’s death on “NY Med.”
     The TV show aired 16 months after doctors were unable to save Chanko’s life after he was hit by a garbage truck in 2011.
     The OCR’s investigation found that the hospital improperly disclosed the protected health information of Chanko and another patient to the producers of “NY Med.”
     As part of the settlement agreement, the hospital agreed to pay a fine but did not admit to violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
     Similarly, the OCR did not concede that the hospital did not violate the HIPAA rules.
     In addition to the $2.2 million penalty, the hospital must comply with a corrective action plan for two years.
     The plan calls for the hospital to enforce a policy that will protect its patients’ private health information and to submit that policy to federal regulators within 90 days.
     In addition, the New York-Presbyterian Hospital must monitor all photography, video and audio recording to ensure that patients’ privacy is protected.
     The hospital must also report any future privacy violations to the Department of Health and Human Services within 30 days, and the hospital’s entire workforce must be trained on the privacy policy.
     Earlier this month, the New York Court of Appeals allowed Chanko’s family to continue its lawsuit against the hospital for breach of physician-patient confidentiality.
     “This case sends an important message that OCR will not permit covered entities to compromise their patients’ privacy by allowing news or television crews to film the patients without their authorization,” OCR Director Jocelyn Samuels said in a statement.

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