- HHS' Office for Civil Rights announced it has reach a settlement with New York Presbyterian Hospital for $2.2 million for the disclosure of two patients’ protected health information (PHI) to film crews and staff during the filming of “NY Med,” an ABC television series.
- Filming was allowed without first obtaining authorization from the patients.
- OCR found NYP allowed the ABC crew to film someone who was dying and another person in significant distress, even after a medical professional urged the crew to stop.
“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,” said Jocelyn Samuels, OCR’s Director. “We take seriously all complaints filed by individuals, and will seek the necessary remedies to ensure that patients’ privacy is fully protected.”
By allowing individuals receiving urgent medical care to be filmed without their authorization by members of the media, HHS stated NYP’s actions blatantly violate the HIPAA rules, which aim to protect an individual’s PHI, including images.
OCR also found NYP failed to safeguard protected health information and allowed ABC film crews virtually unfettered access to its healthcare facility, "effectively creating an environment where PHI could not be protected from impermissible disclosure to the ABC film crew and staff."
In addition to the $2.2 million, OCR will monitor NYP for two years as part of this settlement agreement, helping ensure that NYP will remain compliant with its HIPAA obligations while it continues to provide care for patients.