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Kirk Nahra Discusses HIPAA-Related Issues in Alleged Denial of Patient Access to Genetic Data
Kirk J. Nahra, chair of Wiley Rein’s Privacy Practice and co-chair of the Health Care Practice, was quoted by Bloomberg BNA in a Life Sciences Law & Industry Report article about a complaint filed against Myriad Genetics Laboratories, Inc., by patients who were allegedly denied access to their genetic data after a cancer screening test. The complaint was filed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which in January released guidance clarifying patients’ rights to access their medical records under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule.
Mr. Nahra told Bloomberg BNA that Myriad is obligated to comply with the HIPAA Privacy Rule’s patient access provision, presuming it’s a HIPAA-covered entity. “This has been a big source of ongoing complaints, and an area that the OCR is particularly focused on,” he added.
Myriad provided the patients with copies of their test reports in March, and provided additional genetic data on May 18, according to the article. But the company could still be fined if the OCR decides Myriad should have provided the additional genetic data upon initial request, according to Mr. Nahra.
Mr. Nahra noted that the patient access rule has created a number of complaints regarding all types of health care providers. “I haven’t heard anything about the genetic side specifically, and I don’t know if there’s some proprietary issue that make this tougher than a usual medical record, but it’s an ongoing problem,” he concluded.
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