A lawsuits has been recently submitted against a healthcare group in relation over alleged HIPAA and HITECH Act violations.
The unsealed complaint, submitted officially in a U.S. District Court located in Indiana in 2016, seeks in excess of $1 billion in damages from 60 different hospitals that received HITECH Act meaningful use incentive payments for transitioning to electronic health records, yet was unable to meet the requirements of the HITECH Act with respect to supplying their patients, and their legal representatives, with adequate copies of health records promptly when they were asked for.
In order to be in receipt of incentive payments, one of the chief requirements was for hospitals to attest that for at least 50% of patients, they were in a position to provide copies of medical records within three business days of requests being officially submitted. When copies of health records are asked for, the HITECH Act only permits healthcare groups to charge for labor costs for supplying duplicate copies of records.
Michael Misch and Bradley Colborn, attorneys employed with Anderson, Agostino & Keller, P.C., of South Bend Indiana, investigated hospitals after becoming more and more frustrated with the delay in obtaining copies of health records at their clients’ request, and over the amounts being charged for copies of health records.
The focus of the investigation was to streamline requests, cut the time taken to obtain copies of health records, and slash the cost of accessing those records. However, the investigation showed that many hospitals were failing to meet the requirements of the HITECH Act, even though they had been given incentive payments for compliance.
In the official complaint, it is claimed that 60 hospitals received payments of $324.4 million in HITECH Act grant funding, yet did not meet the requirements of the HITECH Act when it came to supplying copies of health records of their patients. The lawsuit also claims the hospitals breached the Anti-Kickback Statute and the False Claims Act; falsely saying they were compliant with HITECH Act to obtain access to public funding.